A dehydration-inducible Arabidopsis CIN-like TCP gene, TCP13, acts as a key regulator of plant growth in leaves and roots under dehydration stress conditions. Plants modulate their shape and growth in response to environmental stress. However, regulatory mechanisms underlying the changes in shape and growth under environmental stress remain elusive. The CINCINNATA (CIN)-like TEOSINTE BRANCHED1/CYCLOIDEA/PCF (TCP) family of transcription factors (TFs) are key regulators for limiting the growth of leaves through negative effect of auxin response. Here, we report that stress-inducible CIN-like TCP13 plays a key role in inducing morphological changes in leaves and growth regulation in leaves and roots that confer dehydration stress tolerance in Arabidopsis thaliana. Transgenic Arabidopsis plants overexpressing TCP13 (35Spro::TCP13OX) exhibited leaf rolling, and reduced leaf growth under osmotic stress. The 35Spro::TCP13OX transgenic leaves showed decreased water loss from leaves, and enhanced dehydration tolerance compared with their control counterparts. Plants overexpressing a chimeric repressor domain SRDX-fused TCP13 (TCP13pro::TCP13SRDX) showed severely serrated leaves and enhanced root growth. Transcriptome analysis of TCP13pro::TCP13SRDX transgenic plants revealed that TCP13 affects the expression of dehydration- and abscisic acid (ABA)-regulated genes. TCP13 is also required for the expression of dehydration-inducible auxin-regulated genes, INDOLE-3-ACETIC ACID5 (IAA5) and LATERAL ORGAN BOUNDARIES (LOB) DOMAIN 1 (LBD1). Furthermore, tcp13 knockout mutant plants showed ABA-insensitive root growth and reduced dehydration-inducible gene expression. Our findings provide new insight into the molecular mechanism of CIN-like TCP that is involved in both auxin and ABA response under dehydration stress.
Keywords: Dehydration stress response; Drought tolerance; Leaf morphology; Root growth; TCP transcription factor.
© 2022. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V.