Angiosperm Flora of India

Plant Oxygen Sensing Is Mediated by the N-End Rule Pathway: A Milestone in Plant Anaerobiosis

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2011
Authors:Sasidharan, R, Mustroph, A
Journal:The Plant Cell
Date Published:2011
ISBN Number:10404651

Like all aerobic organisms, plants require molecular oxygen for respiratory energy production. In plants, hypoxic conditions can occur during natural events (e.g., flooding), during developmental processes (e.g., seed germination), and in cells of compact tissues with high metabolic rates. Plant acclimation responses to hypoxia involve a modulation of gene expression leading to various biochemical, physiological, and morphological changes that stave off eventual anoxia. In contrast with the animal kingdom, a direct oxygen-sensing mechanism in plants has been elusive so far. However, two recent independent studies show that oxygen sensing in plants operates via posttranslational regulation of key hypoxia response transcription factors by the N-end rule pathway. The N-end rule is an evolutionary conserved pathway for protein degradation that relates the fate of a protein with the identity of its N-terminal residues. Results from these studies demonstrate that oxygen-dependent modification and targeted proteolysis of members of the ethylene response factor group VII transcription factor family regulate hypoxia-responsive gene expression in Arabidopsis thaliana. The discovery of this plant hypoxia-sensing mechanism sets the stage for further research on plant homeostatic response to oxygen, which could be relevant to understanding plant distributions in flood-prone ecosystems and improving hypoxia tolerance of crops.

Short Title:The Plant Cell
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