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The tomato HD‐Zip I transcription factor SlHZ24 modulates ascorbate accumulation through positive regulation of the d‐mannose/l‐galactose pathway

Hu, Tixu, Ye, Jie, Tao, Peiwen, Li, Hanxia, Zhang, Junhong, Zhang, Yuyang, Ye, Zhibiao
The plant journal 2016 v.85 no.1 pp. 16-29
RNA interference, Solanum lycopersicum, antioxidants, biosynthesis, gel electrophoresis, gene overexpression, genes, oxidative stress, phosphorylase, reactive oxygen species, stress tolerance, tomatoes, transcription factors, transgenic plants, yeasts
Ascorbate (AsA) is an antioxidant that can scavenge the reactive oxygen species (ROS) produced when plants encounter stressful conditions. Here, it was revealed by a yeast one‐hybrid assay that a tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) HD‐Zip I family transcription factor, SlHZ24, binds to the promoter of an AsA biosynthetic gene encoding GDP‐d‐mannose pyrophosphorylase 3 (SlGMP3). Both the transient expression system and electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) showed that SlHZ24 binds to a regulatory cis‐element in the SlGMP3 promoter, and further overexpression of SlHZ24 in transgenic tomato lines resulted in increased AsA levels. In contrast, suppressing expression of the gene using RNA interference (RNAi) had the opposite effect. These data suggest that SlHZ24 can positively regulate the accumulation of AsA, and in support of this it was shown that SlGMP3 expression increased in the SlHZ24‐overexpressing lines and declined in SlHZ24‐RNAi lines. SlHZ24 also affected the expression of other genes in the d‐mannose/l‐galactose pathway, such as genes encoding GDP‐mannose‐3′,5′‐epimerase 2 (SlGME2), GDP‐l‐galactose phosphorylase (SlGGP) and SlGMP4. The EMSA indicated that SlHZ24 bound to the promoters of SlGME2 and SlGGP, suggesting multi‐targeted regulation of AsA biosynthesis. Finally, SlHZ24‐overexpressing plants showed less sensitivity to oxidative stress; we therefore conclude that SlHZ24 promotes AsA biosynthesis, which in turn enhances oxidative stress tolerance.