Interplay between ethylene, ETP1/ETP2 F-box proteins, and degradation of EIN2 triggers ethylene responses in Arabidopsis

Genes Dev. 2009 Feb 15;23(4):512-21. doi: 10.1101/gad.1765709. Epub 2009 Feb 4.


The gaseous plant hormone ethylene can trigger myriad physiological and morphological responses in plants. While many ethylene signaling pathway components have been identified and characterized, little is known about the function of the integral membrane protein ETHYLENE-INSENSITIVE2 (EIN2), a central regulator of all ethylene responses. Here, we demonstrate that Arabidopsis thaliana EIN2 is a protein with a short half-life that undergoes rapid proteasome-mediated protein turnover. Moreover, EIN2 protein accumulation is positively regulated by ethylene. We identified two F-box proteins, EIN2 TARGETING PROTEIN1 (ETP1) and EIN2 TARGETING PROTEIN2 (ETP2), that interact with the EIN2 C-terminal domain (EIN2-CEND), which is highly conserved and sufficient to activate most ethylene responses. Overexpression of ETP1 or ETP2 disrupts EIN2 protein accumulation, and these plants manifest a strong ethylene-insensitive phenotype. Furthermore, knocking down the levels of both ETP1 and ETP2 mRNAs using an artificial microRNA (amiRNA) leads to accumulation of EIN2 protein, resulting in plants that display constitutive ethylene response phenotypes. Finally, ethylene down-regulates ETP1 and ETP2 proteins, impairing their ability to interact with EIN2. Thus, these studies reveal that a complex interplay between ethylene, the regulation of ETP1/ETP2 F-box proteins, and subsequent targeting and degradation of EIN2 is essential for triggering ethylene responses in plants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / chemistry
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Ethylenes / metabolism*
  • F-Box Proteins / chemistry
  • F-Box Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Half-Life
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism*
  • Sequence Alignment


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • EIN2 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Ethylenes
  • F-Box Proteins
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • ethylene