Background and aims: It has previously been shown that Arabidopsis thaliana ethylene-responsive element binding protein (AtEBP) contributed to resistance to abiotic stresses. Interestingly, it has also been reported that expression of ethylene-responsive factor (ERF) genes including AtEBP were regulated by the activity of APETALA2 (AP2), a floral homeotic factor. AP2 is known to regulate expression of several floral-specific homeotic genes such as AGAMOUS. The aim of this study was to clarify the relationship between AP2 and AtEBP in gene expression.
Methods: Northern blot analysis was performed on ap2 mutants, ethylene-related Arabidopsis mutants and transgenic Arabidopsis plants over-expressing AtEBP, and a T-DNA insertional mutant of AtEBP. Phenotypic analysis of these plants was performed.
Key results: Expression levels of ERF genes such as AtEBP and AtERF1 were increased in ap2 mutants. Over-expression of AtEBP caused upregulation of AP2 expression in leaves. AP2 expression was suppressed by the null-function of ethylene-insensitive2 (EIN2), although AP2 expression was not affected by ethylene treatment. Loss of AtEBP function slightly reduced the average number of stamens.
Conclusions: AP2 and AtEBP are mutually regulated in terms of gene expression. AP2 expression was affected by EIN2 but was not regulated by ethylene treatment.