The Arabidopsis bZIP11 transcription factor links low-energy signalling to auxin-mediated control of primary root growth

Christoph Weiste, Lorenzo Pedrotti, Joseph Selvanayagam, Prathibha Muralidhara, Christian Froschel, Ondrej Novak, Karin Ljung, Johannes Hanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Citations (Scopus)


Plants have to tightly control their energy homeostasis to ensure survival and fitness under constantly changing environmental conditions. Thus, it is stringently required that energy-consuming stress-adaptation and growth-related processes are dynamically tuned according to the prevailing energy availability. The evolutionary conserved SUCROSE NON-FERMENTING1 RELATED KINASES1 (SnRK1) and the downstream group C/S1basic leucine zipper (bZIP) transcription factors (TFs) are well-characterised central players in plants’ low-energy management. Nevertheless, mechanistic insights into plant growth control under energy deprived conditions remains largely elusive. In this work, we disclose the novel function of the low-energy activated group S1bZIP11-related TFs as regulators of auxin-mediated primary root growth. Whereas transgenic gain-of-function approaches of these bZIPs interfere with the activity of the root apical meristem and result in root growth repression, root growth of loss-of-function plants show a pronounced insensitivity to low-energy conditions. Based on ensuing molecular and biochemical analyses, we propose a mechanistic model, in which bZIP11-related TFs gain control over the root meristem by directly activating IAA3/SHY2 transcription. IAA3/SHY2 is a pivotal negative regulator of root growth, which has been demonstrated to efficiently repress transcription of major auxin transport facilitators of the PIN-FORMED (PIN) gene family, thereby restricting polar auxin transport to the root tip and in consequence auxin-driven primary root growth. Taken together, our results disclose the central low-energy activated SnRK1-C/S1-bZIP signalling module as gateway to integrate information on the plant’s energy status into root meristem control, thereby balancing plant growth and cellular energy resources.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1006607
Number of pages27
JournalPloS Genetics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017


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