Genetic analysis of Arabidopsis GATA transcription factor gene family reveals a nitrate-inducible member important for chlorophyll synthesis and glucose sensitivity

Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1.
The Plant Journal (Impact Factor: 6.82). 12/2005; 44(4):680-92. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2005.02568.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The Arabidopsis GATA transcription factor family has 30 members, the biological function of most of which is poorly understood. Homozygous T-DNA insertion lines for 23 of the 30 members were identified and analyzed. Genetic screening of the insertion lines in defined growth conditions revealed one line with an altered phenotype, while the other lines showed no obvious change. This line, SALK_001778, has a T-DNA insertion in the second exon of At5g56860 which prevents the expression of the GATA domain. Genetic analysis of the mutant demonstrated that the phenotypic change is caused by a single gene effect and is recessive to the wild-type allele. In wild-type plants, the expression of At5g56860 is shoot-specific, occurs at an early stage of development and is inducible by nitrate. Loss of expression of At5g56860 in the loss-of-function mutant plants resulted in reduced chlorophyll levels. A transcript profiling experiment revealed that a considerable proportion of genes downregulated in the loss-of-function mutants are involved in carbon metabolism and At5g56860 is thus designated GNC (GATA, nitrate-inducible, carbon metabolism-involved). gnc mutants with no GNC expression are more sensitive to exogenous glucose, and two hexose transporter genes, with a possible connection to glucose signaling, are significantly downregulated, while GNC over-expressing transgenic plants upregulate their expression and are less sensitive to exogenous glucose. These observations suggest a function for GNC in regulating carbon and nitrogen metabolism.

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    ABSTRACT: GATA transcription factors are evolutionarily conserved transcriptional regulators that recognize promoter elements with a G-A-T-A core sequence. In comparison to animal genomes, the GATA transcription factor family in plants is comparatively large with approximately 30 members. Here, we review the current knowledge on B-GATAs, one of four GATA factor subfamilies from Arabidopsis thaliana. We show that B-GATAs can be subdivided based on structural features and their biological function into family members with a C-terminal LLM- (leucine-leucine-methionine) domain or an N-terminal HAN- (HANABA TARANU) domain. The paralogous GNC (GATA, NITRATE-INDUCIBLE, CARBON-METABOLISM INVOLVED) and CGA1/GNL (CYTOKININ-INDUCED GATA1/GNC-LIKE) are introduced as LLM-domain containing B-GATAs from Arabidopsis that control germination, greening, senescence, and flowering time downstream from several growth regulatory signals. Arabidopsis HAN and its monocot-specific paralogs from rice (NECK LEAF1), maize (TASSEL SHEATH1), and barley (THIRD OUTER GLUME) are HAN-domain-containing B-GATAs with a predominant role in embryo development and floral development. We also review GATA23, a regulator of lateral root initiation from Arabidopsis that is closely related to GNC and GNL but has a degenerate LLM-domain that is seemingly specific for the Brassicaceae family. The Brassicaceae-specific GATA23 and the monocot-specific HAN-domain GATAs provide evidence that neofunctionalization of B-GATAs was used during plant evolution to expand the functional repertoire of these transcription factors.
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