Natural variation reveals that intracellular distribution of ELF3 protein is associated with function in the circadian clock

Elife. 2014 May 27;3:e02206. doi: 10.7554/eLife.02206.

Abstract

Natural selection of variants within the Arabidopsis thaliana circadian clock can be attributed to adaptation to varying environments. To define a basis for such variation, we examined clock speed in a reporter-modified Bay-0 x Shakdara recombinant inbred line and localized heritable variation. Extensive variation led us to identify EARLY FLOWERING3 (ELF3) as a major quantitative trait locus (QTL). The causal nucleotide polymorphism caused a short-period phenotype under light and severely dampened rhythm generation in darkness, and entrainment alterations resulted. We found that ELF3-Sha protein failed to properly localize to the nucleus, and its ability to accumulate in darkness was compromised. Evidence was provided that the ELF3-Sha allele originated in Central Asia. Collectively, we showed that ELF3 protein plays a vital role in defining its light-repressor action in the circadian clock and that its functional abilities are largely dependent on its cellular localization.

Keywords: QTL mapping/cloning; arabidopsis; cell biology; circadian clock; eQTL; evolutionary biology; genomics; plant biology; population analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Circadian Clocks*
  • Flowers
  • Geography
  • Light
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Mutation
  • Phenotype
  • Phylogeny
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Quantitative Trait Loci
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Transgenes

Substances

  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • ELF3 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Transcription Factors

Grant support

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.