ATAF1 transcription factor directly regulates abscisic acid biosynthetic gene NCED3 in Arabidopsis thaliana

FEBS Open Bio. 2013 Jul 29;3:321-7. doi: 10.1016/j.fob.2013.07.006. eCollection 2013.


ATAF1, an Arabidopsis thaliana NAC transcription factor, plays important roles in plant adaptation to environmental stress and development. To search for ATAF1 target genes, we used protein binding microarrays and chromatin-immunoprecipitation (ChIP). This identified T[A,C,G]CGT[A,G] and TT[A,C,G]CGT as ATAF1 consensus binding sequences. Co-expression analysis across publicly available microarray experiments identified 25 genes co-expressed with ATAF1. The promoter regions of ATAF1 co-expressors were significantly enriched for ATAF1 binding sites, and TTGCGTA was identified in the promoter of the key abscisic acid (ABA) phytohormone biosynthetic gene NCED3. ChIP-qPCR and expression analysis showed that ATAF1 binding to the NCED3 promoter correlated with increased NCED3 expression and ABA hormone levels. These results indicate that ATAF1 regulates ABA biosynthesis.

Keywords: ABA, abscisic acid; ATAF1, Arabidopsis thaliana activating factor 1; Abscisic acid biosynthesis; Arabidopsis; ChIP, chromatin-immunoprecipitation; DBD, DNA-binding domain; DNA-binding; NAC transcription factor; NAC, NAM, ATAF1/2, CUC2; NCED3, 9-cis-epoxycarotenoid dioxygenase-3; PBM, protein-binding microarrays; PWM, position weight matrix; SnRK, Sucrose nonfermenting 1(SNF1)-related serine/threonine-protein kinase; TF, transcription factor.