Integrative genome-wide analysis reveals HLP1, a novel RNA-binding protein, regulates plant flowering by targeting alternative polyadenylation

Cell Res. 2015 Jul;25(7):864-76. doi: 10.1038/cr.2015.77. Epub 2015 Jun 23.


Alternative polyadenylation (APA) is a widespread mechanism for gene regulation and has been implicated in flowering, but the molecular basis governing the choice of a specific poly(A) site during the vegetative-to-reproductive growth transition remains unclear. Here we characterize HLP1, an hnRNP A/B protein as a novel regulator for pre-mRNA 3'-end processing in Arabidopsis. Genetic analysis reveals that HLP1 suppresses Flowering Locus C (FLC), a key repressor of flowering in Arabidopsis. Genome-wide mapping of HLP1-RNA interactions indicates that HLP1 binds preferentially to A-rich and U-rich elements around cleavage and polyadenylation sites, implicating its role in 3'-end formation. We show HLP1 is significantly enriched at transcripts involved in RNA metabolism and flowering. Comprehensive profiling of the poly(A) site usage reveals that HLP1 mutations cause thousands of poly(A) site shifts. A distal-to-proximal poly(A) site shift in the flowering regulator FCA, a direct target of HLP1, leads to upregulation of FLC and delayed flowering. Our results elucidate that HLP1 is a novel factor involved in 3'-end processing and controls reproductive timing via targeting APA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Flowers / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / genetics*
  • Mutation / genetics*
  • Polyadenylation / genetics*
  • RNA Precursors / metabolism
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • mRNA Cleavage and Polyadenylation Factors / genetics


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • HLP1 protein, Arabidopsis
  • RNA Precursors
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • mRNA Cleavage and Polyadenylation Factors

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE39051