Dominant repression of target genes by chimeric repressors that include the EAR motif, a repression domain, in Arabidopsis

Plant J. 2003 Jun;34(5):733-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.2003.01759.x.


The redundancy of genes for plant transcription factors often interferes with efforts to identify the biologic functions of such factors. We show here that four different transcription factors fused to the EAR motif, a repression domain of only 12 amino acids, act as dominant repressors in transgenic Arabidopsis and suppress the expression of specific target genes, even in the presence of the redundant transcription factors, with resultant dominant loss-of-function phenotypes. Chimeric EIN3, CUC1, PAP1, and AtMYB23 repressors that included the EAR motif dominantly suppressed the expression of their target genes and caused insensitivity to ethylene, cup-shaped cotyledons, reduction in the accumulation of anthocyanin, and absence of trichomes, respectively. This chimeric repressor silencing technology (CRES-T), exploiting the EAR-motif repression domain, is simple and effective and can overcome genetic redundancy. Thus, it should be useful not only for the rapid analysis of the functions of redundant plant transcription factors but also for the manipulation of plant traits via the suppression of gene expression that is regulated by specific transcription factors.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Motifs
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Arabidopsis / drug effects
  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / chemistry
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • Cotyledon / drug effects
  • Cotyledon / growth & development
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Ethylenes / pharmacology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Gene Silencing*
  • Genes, Dominant / genetics
  • Genes, Plant / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nuclear Proteins / chemistry
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • Pancreatitis-Associated Proteins
  • Phenotype
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / chemistry
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism*
  • Repressor Proteins / chemistry*
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism*
  • Transcription Factors*


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • CUC1 protein, Arabidopsis
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • EIN3 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Ethylenes
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Pancreatitis-Associated Proteins
  • REG3A protein, human
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • ethylene