The formation of perinucleolar bodies is important for normal leaf development and requires the zinc-finger DNA-binding motif in Arabidopsis ASYMMETRIC LEAVES2

Plant J. 2020 Mar;101(5):1118-1134. doi: 10.1111/tpj.14579. Epub 2019 Nov 29.


In Arabidopsis, the ASYMMETRIC LEAVES2 (AS2) protein plays a key role in the formation of flat symmetric leaves via direct repression of the abaxial gene ETT/ARF3. AS2 encodes a plant-specific nuclear protein that contains the AS2/LOB domain, which includes a zinc-finger (ZF) motif that is conserved in the AS2/LOB family. We have shown that AS2 binds to the coding DNA of ETT/ARF3, which requires the ZF motif. AS2 is co-localized with AS1 in perinucleolar bodies (AS2 bodies). To identify the amino acid signals in AS2 required for formation of AS2 bodies and function(s) in leaf formation, we constructed recombinant DNAs that encoded mutant AS2 proteins fused to yellow fluorescent protein. We examined the subcellular localization of these proteins in cells of cotyledons and leaf primordia of transgenic plants and cultured cells. The amino acid signals essential for formation of AS2 bodies were located within and adjacent to the ZF motif. Mutant AS2 that failed to form AS2 bodies also failed to rescue the as2-1 mutation. Our results suggest the importance of the formation of AS2 bodies and the nature of interactions of AS2 with its target DNA and nucleolar factors including NUCLEOLIN1. The partial overlap of AS2 bodies with perinucleolar chromocenters with condensed ribosomal RNA genes implies a correlation between AS2 bodies and the chromatin state. Patterns of AS2 bodies in cells during interphase and mitosis in leaf primordia were distinct from those in cultured cells, suggesting that the formation and distribution of AS2 bodies are developmentally modulated in plants.

Keywords: 45S ribosomal RNA genes; ETTIN/AUXIN RESEPONSE FACTOR3; chromocenter; epigenetic factor AS2; nucleolus; perinucleolar body; zinc-finger motif.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cotyledon / genetics
  • Cotyledon / growth & development
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mutation
  • Phenotype
  • Plant Leaves / genetics
  • Plant Leaves / growth & development
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Protein Domains
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Zinc Fingers


  • AS2 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • ETT protein, Arabidopsis
  • Transcription Factors