Repression of seed maturation genes by a trihelix transcriptional repressor in Arabidopsis seedlings

Plant Cell. 2009 Jan;21(1):54-71. doi: 10.1105/tpc.108.061309. Epub 2009 Jan 20.


The seed maturation program is repressed during germination and seedling development so that embryonic genes are not expressed in vegetative organs. Here, we describe a regulator that represses the expression of embryonic seed maturation genes in vegetative tissues. ASIL1 (for Arabidopsis 6b-interacting protein 1-like 1) was isolated by its interaction with the Arabidopsis thaliana 2S3 promoter. ASIL1 possesses domains conserved in the plant-specific trihelix family of DNA binding proteins and belongs to a subfamily of 6b-interacting protein 1-like factors. The seedlings of asil1 mutants exhibited a global shift in gene expression to a profile resembling late embryogenesis. LEAFY COTYLEDON1 and 2 were markedly derepressed during early germination, as was a large subset of seed maturation genes, such as those encoding seed storage proteins and oleosins, in seedlings of asil1 mutants. Consistent with this, asil1 seedlings accumulated 2S albumin and oil with a fatty acid composition similar to that of seed-derived lipid. Moreover, ASIL1 specifically recognized a GT element that overlaps the G-box and is in close proximity to the RY repeats of the 2S promoters. We suggest that ASIL1 targets GT-box-containing embryonic genes by competing with the binding of transcriptional activators to this promoter region.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genotype
  • Germination / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Phylogeny
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • RNA, Plant / genetics
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism*
  • Seeds / genetics*
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • RNA, Plant
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Transcription Factors

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AB072391