AtMYB41 acts as a dual-function transcription factor that regulates the formation of lipids in an organ- and development-dependent manner

Plant Biol (Stuttg). 2024 Apr 18. doi: 10.1111/plb.13650. Online ahead of print.


The plant cuticle controls non-stomatal water loss and can serve as a barrier against biotic agents, whereas the heteropolymer suberin and its associated waxes are deposited constitutively at specific cell wall locations. While several transcription factors controlling cuticle formation have been identified, those involved in the transcriptional regulation of suberin biosynthesis remain poorly characterized. The major goal of this study was to further analyse the function of the R2R3-Myeloblastosis (MYB) transcription factor AtMYB41 in formation of the cuticle, suberin, and suberin-associated waxes throughout plant development. For functional analysis, the organ-specific expression pattern of AtMYB41 was analysed and Atmyb41ge alleles were generated using the CRISPR/Cas9 system. These were investigated for root growth and water permeability upon stress. In addition, the fatty acid, wax, cutin, and suberin monomer composition of different organs was evaluated by gas chromatography. The characterization of Atmyb41ge mutants revealed that AtMYB41 negatively regulates the production of cuticular lipids and fatty acid biosynthesis in leaves and seeds, respectively. Remarkably, biochemical analyses indicate that AtMYB41 also positively regulates the formation of cuticular waxes in stems of Arabidopsis thaliana. Overall, these results suggest that the AtMYB41 acts as a negative regulator of cuticle and fatty acid biosynthesis in leaves and seeds, respectively, but also as a positive regulator of wax production in A. thaliana stems.

Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana; MYB; cuticle; fatty acids; organ‐specific; plant development; suberin; transcription factor.