Key role of the motor protein Kinesin 13B in the activity of homeodomain-leucine zipper I transcription factors

J Exp Bot. 2020 Oct 22;71(20):6282-6296. doi: 10.1093/jxb/eraa379.


The sunflower (Helianthus annuus) homeodomain-leucine zipper I transcription factor HaHB11 conferred differential phenotypic features when it was expressed in Arabidopsis, alfalfa, and maize plants. Such differences were increased biomass, seed yield, and tolerance to flooding. To elucidate the molecular mechanisms leading to such traits and identify HaHB11-interacting proteins, a yeast two-hybrid screening of an Arabidopsis cDNA library was carried out using HaHB11 as bait. The sole protein identified with high confidence as interacting with HaHB11 was Kinesin 13B. The interaction was confirmed by bimolecular fluorescence complementation and by yeast two-hybrid assay. Kinesin 13B also interacted with AtHB7, the Arabidopsis closest ortholog of HaHB11. Histochemical analyses revealed an overlap between the expression patterns of the three genes in hypocotyls, apical meristems, young leaves, vascular tissue, axillary buds, cauline leaves, and cauline leaf nodes at different developmental stages. AtKinesin 13B mutants did not exhibit a differential phenotype when compared with controls; however, both HaHB11 and AtHB7 overexpressor plants lost, partially or totally, their differential phenotypic characteristics when crossed with such mutants. Altogether, the results indicated that Kinesin 13B is essential for the homeodomain-leucine zipper transcription factors I to exert their functions, probably via regulation of the intracellular distribution of these transcription factors by the motor protein.

Keywords: AtHB7; HD-Zip I; HaHB11; Kinesin 13B; homeodomain-leucine zipper; transcription factor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism
  • Kinesins / genetics
  • Leucine Zippers*
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors* / genetics
  • Transcription Factors* / metabolism


  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Plant Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Kinesins