A zinc knuckle protein that negatively controls morning-specific growth in Arabidopsis thaliana
Growth in plants is modulated by a complex interplay between internal signals and external cues. Although traditional mutagenesis has been a successful approach for the identification of growth regulatory genes, it is likely that many genes involved in growth control remain to be discovered. In this study, we used the phenotypic variation between Bay-0 and Shahdara, two natural strains (accessions) of Arabidopsis thaliana, to map quantitative trait loci (QTL) affecting light- and temperature-regulated growth of the embryonic stem (hypocotyl). Using heterogeneous inbred families (HIFs), the gene underlying one QTL, LIGHT5, was identified as a tandem zinc knuckle/PLU3 domain encoding gene (At5g43630; TZP), which carries a premature stop codon in Bay-0. Hypocotyl growth assays in monochromatic light and microarray analysis demonstrate that TZP controls blue light associated growth in a time-of-day fashion by regulating genes involved in growth, such as peroxidase and cell wall synthesis genes. TZP expression is phased by the circadian clock and light/dark cycles to the beginning of the day, the time of maximal growth in A. thaliana in short-day conditions. Based on its domain structure and localization in the nucleus, we propose that TZP acts downstream of the circadian clock and photoreceptor signaling pathways to directly control genes responsible for growth. The identification of TZP thus provides new insight into how daily synchronization of growth pathways plays a critical role in growth regulation.
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