The transcriptional repressor ARR1-SRDX suppresses pleiotropic cytokinin activities in Arabidopsis

Plant Physiol. 2008 Jul;147(3):1380-95. doi: 10.1104/pp.107.115436. Epub 2008 May 23.


The signal transduction of the phytohormone cytokinin is mediated by a multistep histidine-to-aspartate phosphorelay system. One component of this system are B-type response regulators, transcription factors mediating at least part of the response to cytokinin. In planta functional analysis of this family is hampered by the high level of functional redundancy of its 11 members. We generated a dominant repressor version of the Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) response regulator ARR1 (ARR1-SRDX) using chimeric repressor silencing technology in order to study the extent of the contribution of B-type response regulators to cytokinin activities. In a protoplast test system, ARR1-SRDX suppressed ARR6:beta-glucuronidase reporter gene activation by different B-type ARRs. 35S:ARR1-SRDX transgenic Arabidopsis plants showed phenotypic changes reminiscent of plants with a reduced cytokinin status, such as a strongly reduced leaf size, an enhanced root system, and larger seeds. Several bioassays showed that 35S:ARR1-SRDX plants have an increased resistance toward cytokinin. The rapid induction of a large part of the cytokinin response genes was dampened. The transcript levels of more than 500 genes were more than 2.5-fold reduced in 35S:ARR1-SRDX transgenic seedlings, suggesting a broad function of B-type ARRs. Collectively, the suppression of pleiotropic cytokinin activities by a dominant repressor version of a B-type ARR indicates that this protein family is involved in mediating most, if not all, of the cytokinin activities in Arabidopsis. In addition, a role for B-type ARRs in mediating cross talk with other pathways is supported by the resistance of 35S:ARR1-SRDX seeds to phytochrome B-mediated inhibition of germination by far-red light. This study demonstrates the usefulness of chimeric repressor silencing technology to overcome redundancy in transcription factor families for functional studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Motifs
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cytokinins / metabolism*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Ethylenes / metabolism
  • Flowers / growth & development
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genes, Plant
  • Germination
  • Light
  • Phenotype
  • Plant Roots / growth & development*
  • Plant Shoots / growth & development*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / growth & development
  • Plants, Genetically Modified / metabolism
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Seedlings / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Transcriptional Activation


  • ARR1 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Cytokinins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Ethylenes
  • Transcription Factors
  • ethylene