The basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor, bHLH11 functions in the iron-uptake system in Arabidopsis thaliana
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Iron (Fe) is a micronutrient that is essential for plant development and growth. Basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factors are a superfamily of transcription factors that are important regulatory components in transcriptional networks in plants. bHLH transcription factors have been divided into subclasses based on their amino acid sequences and domain structures. Among the members of clade IVb (PYE, bHLH121, and bHLH11), the functions of bHLH11 remain unclear. In the present study, we characterized bHLH11 as a negative regulator of Fe homeostasis. bHLH11 expression levels were high in the roots and up-regulated after plants were transferred to Fe sufficient conditions. Although T-DNA knockout mutants of bHLH11 were lethal, dominant negative (DN-) and overexpression (OX-) of bHLH11 plants exhibited sensitivity to Fe deficiency. Furthermore, the expression of FIT, a master regulator of Fe deficiency responses, was suppressed in the transgenic plants. These results suggest that the transcriptional repressor bHLH11 functions as a negative regulator of FIT-dependent Fe uptake and modulates Fe levels in Arabidopsis plants. Salicylic acid (SA) modulates the expression of genes involved in Fe-deficient responses. We found that SA levels were elevated in DN- and OX-bHLH11 plants. The T-DNA insertion mutant sid2-1, which was defective for the production of SA, did not exhibit sensitivity to Fe deficiency; however, the crossed plants of OX-bHLH11 and sid2-1 relieved sensitivity to the Fe deficiency observed in OX-bHLH11 plants. These results suggest that the accumulation of SA is closely related to iron homeostasis.
KeywordsArabidopsis thaliana Basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor FIT Fe metabolism Salicylic acid
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