Oxidative stress can lead to plant growth retardation, yield loss, and death. The atr7 mutant of Arabidopsis thaliana exhibits pronounced tolerance to oxidative stress. Using positional cloning, confirmed by knockout and RNA interference (RNAi) lines, we identified the atr7 mutation and revealed that ATR7 is a previously uncharacterized gene with orthologs in other seed plants but with no homology to genes in lower plants, fungi or animals. Expression of ATR7-GFP fusion shows that ATR7 is a nuclear-localized protein. RNA-seq analysis reveals that transcript levels of genes encoding abiotic- and oxidative stress-related transcription factors (DREB19, HSFA2, ZAT10), chromatin remodelers (CHR34), and unknown or uncharacterized proteins (AT5G59390, AT1G30170, AT1G21520) are elevated in atr7. This indicates that atr7 is primed for an upcoming oxidative stress via pathways involving genes of unknown functions. Collectively, the data reveal ATR7 as a novel seed plants-specific nuclear regulator of oxidative stress response.
Keywords: Abiotic stress; Oxidative stress; Programmed cell death; Reactive oxygen species.