Functional Characterization of the GATA Transcription Factors GNC and CGA1 Reveals Their Key Role in Chloroplast Development, Growth, and Division in Arabidopsis

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2012
Authors:Chiang, Y-H, Zubo, YO, Tapken, W, Kim, HJung, Lavanway, AM, Howard, L, Pilon, M, Kieber, JJ, G. Schaller, E
Journal:Plant Physiology
Date Published:2012
ISBN Number:00320889

Chloroplasts develop from proplastids in a process that requires the interplay of nuclear and chloroplast genomes, but key steps in this developmental process have yet to be elucidated. Here, we show that the nucleus-localized transcription factors GATA NITRATE-INDUCIBLE CARBON-METABOLISM-INVOLVED (GNC) and CYTOKININ-RESPONSIVE GATA1 (CGA1) regulate chloroplast development, growth, and division in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). GNC and CGA1 are highly expressed in green tissues, and the phytohormone cytokinin regulates their expression. A gnc cga1 mutant exhibits a reduction in overall chlorophyll levels as well as in chloroplast size in the hypocotyl. Ectopic overexpression of either GNC or CGA1 promotes chloroplast biogenesis in hypocotyl cortex and root pericycle cells, based on increases in the number and size of the chloroplasts, and also results in expanded zones of chloroplast production into the epidermis of hypocotyls and cotyledons and into the cortex of roots. Ectopic overexpression also promotes the development of etioplasts from proplastids in dark-grown seedlings, subsequently enhancing the deetiolation process. Inducible expression of GNC demonstrates that GNC-mediated chloroplast biogenesis can be regulated postembryonically, notably so for chloroplast production in cotyledon epidermal cells. Analysis of the gnc cga1 loss-of-function and overexpression lines supports a role for these transcription factors in regulating the effects of cytokinin on chloroplast division. These data support a model in which GNC and CGA1 serve as two of the master transcriptional regulators of chloroplast biogenesis, acting downstream of cytokinin and mediating the development of chloroplasts from proplastids and enhancing chloroplast growth and division in specific tissues.

Short Title:Plant Physiology
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