A transcription factor hierarchy defines an environmental stress response network

Science. 2016 Nov 4;354(6312):aag1550. doi: 10.1126/science.aag1550.


Environmental stresses are universally encountered by microbes, plants, and animals. Yet systematic studies of stress-responsive transcription factor (TF) networks in multicellular organisms have been limited. The phytohormone abscisic acid (ABA) influences the expression of thousands of genes, allowing us to characterize complex stress-responsive regulatory networks. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing, we identified genome-wide targets of 21 ABA-related TFs to construct a comprehensive regulatory network in Arabidopsis thaliana Determinants of dynamic TF binding and a hierarchy among TFs were defined, illuminating the relationship between differential gene expression patterns and ABA pathway feedback regulation. By extrapolating regulatory characteristics of observed canonical ABA pathway components, we identified a new family of transcriptional regulators modulating ABA and salt responsiveness and demonstrated their utility to modulate plant resilience to osmotic stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abscisic Acid / metabolism
  • Abscisic Acid / pharmacology
  • Arabidopsis / drug effects
  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / physiology*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins* / classification
  • Arabidopsis Proteins* / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins* / metabolism
  • Binding Sites
  • Chromatin Immunoprecipitation
  • DNA, Plant / metabolism
  • Droughts*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / drug effects
  • Osmotic Pressure
  • Plant Growth Regulators / metabolism
  • Plant Growth Regulators / pharmacology
  • Protein Binding
  • Salinity
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Stress, Physiological / genetics*
  • Systems Biology
  • Transcription Factors* / classification
  • Transcription Factors* / genetics
  • Transcription Factors* / metabolism
  • Water / physiology*


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • DNA, Plant
  • Plant Growth Regulators
  • Transcription Factors
  • Water
  • Abscisic Acid