Brassinosteroids (BRs) are essential steroid hormones that regulate plant growth and development. The transcription factor BRI1-EMS-SUPPRESSOR1 (BES1) regulates the expression of thousands of target genes in response to BRs. Here, we report an Arabidopsis thaliana-specific long isoform of BES1, BES1-L, which has stronger activity in promoting BR signaling than the canonical and widely used short BES1-S. The BES1-L isoform contains an additional N-terminal bipartite nuclear localization signal, which strongly promotes its nuclear localization. BES1-L also promotes the nuclear localization of BES1-S and BRASSINAZOLE-RESISTANT1 via dimerization. The transcription of BES1-L and BES1-S is differentially regulated by BRs due to the presence of G-box element in the BES1-S promoter. Moreover, BES1-L uniquely exists in the majority of A. thaliana ecotypes, but not in other species, even its Brassicaceae relatives, including Arabidopsis lyrata. The phenotypes of the BES1-L overexpression lines and plants with truncated BES1-L indicate that BES1-L is a more important isoform of BES1 in Arabidopsis and may have contributed to the evolution and expansion of A. thaliana.
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