Journal of Biosciences

, 44:14 | Cite as

AtMBD4: A methylated DNA binding protein negatively regulates a subset of phosphate starvation genes

  • Adwaita Prasad Parida
  • Amrapali Sharma
  • Arun Kumar SharmaEmail author


DNA methylation is an important epigenetic modification that governs transcriptional regulation. The methylation mark is read by a special class of proteins called methyl-CpG-binding domain proteins. The role of DNA methylation has been found in X-chromosome inactivation, genomic imprinting, transposon silencing, and self-incompatibility. Recently, remodeling of global DNA methylation was demonstrated in Arabidopsis during low phosphate availability. The present study reports that AtMBD4 gene of Arabidopsis negatively regulates phosphate starvation. The T-DNA insertion mutation at the AtMBD4 locus exhibited altered root architecture as compared to wild-type plants. Using microarray hybridization and analysis, an increased transcript accumulation of 242 genes was observed in the mutant. Many of these genes were related to phosphate transporters and transcription factors, involved in phosphate starvation response. Comparison of data of atmbd4 mutant with publicly available microarray data of phosphate starvation response indicated the role of AtMBD4 protein in phosphate starvation response. Further, promoter analysis of up-regulated genes suggested that cis-regulatory elements like MBS, W-box, and B1BS are more prominent in the promoters of up-regulated genes. Upon performing a methylation-specific PCR, a decreased DNA methylation in the promoter regions of up-regulated genes was observed. The accumulation of anthocyanin and inorganic phosphate in the atmbd4 mutant was found to be higher than the wild-type plant. Altered root morphology, up-regulation of phosphate starvation-induced genes in atmbd4 mutant suggests that AtMBD4 negatively regulates the phosphate starvation response.


Arabidopsis thaliana DNA methylation methyl CpG binding domain protein phosphate starvation 



APP acknowledges Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, India, for providing research fellowship. AS acknowledges University Grand Commission, India, for providing research fellowship. AKS acknowledges Purse grant from the Department of Science and Technology provided through the University of Delhi. The SAP grant of University Grant Commission and FIST grant of DST to the Department of Plant Molecular Biology for support of infrastructure is also acknowledged.

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Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adwaita Prasad Parida
    • 1
  • Amrapali Sharma
    • 1
  • Arun Kumar Sharma
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Plant Molecular BiologyUniversity of DelhiNew DelhiIndia

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