The TOPLESS interactome: a framework for gene repression in Arabidopsis

Plant Physiol. 2012 Jan;158(1):423-38. doi: 10.1104/pp.111.186999. Epub 2011 Nov 7.


Transcription factors activate or repress target gene expression or switch between activation and repression. In animals and yeast, Groucho/Tup1 corepressor proteins are recruited by diverse transcription factors to induce context-specific transcriptional repression. Two groups of Groucho/Tup1-like corepressors have been described in plants. LEUNIG and LEUNIG_HOMOLOG constitute one group and TOPLESS (TPL) and the four TPL-related (TPR) corepressors form the other. To discover the processes in which TPL and the TPR corepressors operate, high-throughput yeast two-hybrid approaches were used to identify interacting proteins. We found that TPL/TPR corepressors predominantly interact directly with specific transcription factors, many of which were previously implicated in transcriptional repression. The interacting transcription factors reveal that the TPL/TPR family has been coopted multiple times to modulate gene expression in diverse processes, including hormone signaling, stress responses, and the control of flowering time, for which we also show biological validation. The interaction data suggest novel mechanisms for the involvement of TPL/TPR corepressors in auxin and jasmonic acid signaling. A number of short repression domain (RD) sequences have previously been identified in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) transcription factors. All known RD sequences were enriched among the TPL/TPR interactors, and novel TPL-RD interactions were identified. We show that the presence of RD sequences is essential for TPL/TPR recruitment. These data provide a framework for TPL/TPR-dependent transcriptional repression. They allow for predictions about new repressive transcription factors, corepressor interactions, and repression mechanisms and identify a wide range of plant processes that utilize TPL/TPR-mediated gene repression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Base Sequence
  • Flowers / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nuclear Pore Complex Proteins / genetics
  • Nuclear Pore Complex Proteins / metabolism
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Protein Interaction Maps
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Two-Hybrid System Techniques


  • APETALA2 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • FT protein, Arabidopsis
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Nuclear Pore Complex Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Repressor Proteins
  • TPR protein, Arabidopsis
  • Transcription Factors
  • WOX2 protein, Arabidopsis
  • WUSCHEL protein, Arabidopsis
  • topless protein, Arabidopsis