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A conserved phosphorylation site regulates the transcriptional function of ETHYLENE-INSENSITIVE3-like1 in tomato

Abstract : ETHYLENE-INSENSITIVE3/ETHYLENE-INSENSITIVE3-like (EIN3/EIL) transcription factors are important downstream components of the ethylene transduction pathway known to regulate the transcription of early ethylene-responsive genes in plants. Previous studies have shown that phosphorylation can repress their transcriptional activity by promoting protein degradation. The present study identifies a new phosphorylation region named EPR1 (EIN3/EIL phosphorylation region 1) in tomato EIL1 proteins. The functional significance of EPR1 was tested by introducing mutations in this region of the Sl-EIL1 gene and by expressing these mutated versions in transgenic tomato plants. Transient expression data and phenotypic analysis of the transgenic lines indicated that EPR1 is essential for the transcriptional activity of Sl-EIL1. Moreover, mutation in the EPR1 site that prevents phosphorylation abolishes ethylene constitutive responses normally displayed by the Sl-EIL1-overexpressing lines. Bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC) studies showed that the presence of a functional phosphorylation site within EPR1 is instrumental in the dimerization of Sl-EIL1 proteins. The results illuminate a new molecular mechanism for the control of EIN3/EIL activity and propose a model where phosphorylation within the EPR1 promotes the dimerization process allowing the initiation of EIL-mediated transcription of early ethylene-regulated genes.
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Ji Li, Zhengguo Li, Ling Tang, Yingwu Yang, Mohamed Zouine, et al.. A conserved phosphorylation site regulates the transcriptional function of ETHYLENE-INSENSITIVE3-like1 in tomato. Journal of Experimental Botany, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2011, Vol. 63 (1), pp. 427-439. ⟨10.1093/jxb/err289⟩. ⟨hal-00793397⟩

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