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, 91 (3), 408-415

Activation of the Arabidopsis Membrane-Bound Transcription Factor bZIP28 Is Mediated by site-2 Protease, but Not site-1 Protease

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Activation of the Arabidopsis Membrane-Bound Transcription Factor bZIP28 Is Mediated by site-2 Protease, but Not site-1 Protease

Yuji Iwata et al. Plant J.

Abstract

The unfolded protein response (UPR) is a homeostatic cellular response conserved in eukaryotic cells to alleviate the accumulation of unfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Arabidopsis bZIP28 is a membrane-bound transcription factor activated by proteolytic cleavage in response to ER stress, thereby releasing its cytosolic portion containing the bZIP domain from the membrane to translocate into the nucleus where it induces the transcription of genes encoding ER-resident molecular chaperones and folding enzymes. It has been widely recognized that the proteolytic activation of bZIP28 is mediated by the sequential cleavage of site-1 protease (S1P) and site-2 protease (S2P). In the present study we provide evidence that bZIP28 protein is cleaved by S2P, but not by S1P. We demonstrated that wild-type and s1p mutant plants produce the active, nuclear form of bZIP28 in response to the ER stress inducer tunicamycin. In contrast, tunicamycin-treated s2p mutants do not accumulate the active, nuclear form of bZIP28. Consistent with these observations, s2p mutants, but not s1p mutants, exhibited a defective transcriptional response of ER stress-responsive genes and significantly higher sensitivity to tunicamycin. Interestingly, s2p mutants accumulate two membrane-bound bZIP28 fragments with a shorter ER lumen-facing C-terminal domain. Importantly, the predicted cleavage sites are located far from the canonical S1P recognition motif previously described. We propose that ER stress-induced proteolytic activation of bZIP28 is mediated by the sequential actions of as-yet-unidentified protease(s) and S2P, and does not require S1P.

Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana; endoplasmic reticulum; membrane-bound transcription factor; proteolytic processing; unfolded protein response.

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