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The inhibition of protein translation mediated by AtGCN1 is essential for cold tolerance in Arabidopsis thaliana

Wang, Linjuan, Li, Houhua, Zhao, Chunzhao, Li, Shengfei, Kong, Lingyao, Wu, Wenwu, Kong, Weisheng, Liu, Yan, Wei, Yuanyuan, Zhu, Jian‐Kang, Zhang, Hairong
Plant, cell and environment 2017 v.40 no.1 pp. 56-68
Arabidopsis thaliana, alleles, amino acids, cold stress, cold tolerance, cold treatment, hypocotyls, messenger RNA, mutants, phosphorylation, salicylic acid, seedlings, translation (genetics), yeasts
In yeast, the interaction of General Control Non‐derepressible 1 (GCN1) with GCN2 enables GCN2 to phosphorylate eIF2α (the alpha subunit of eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2) under a variety of stresses. Here, we cloned AtGCN1, an Arabidopsis homologue of GCN1. We show that AtGCN1 directly interacts with GCN2 and is essential for the phosphorylation of eIF2α under salicylic acid (SA), ultraviolet (UV), cold stress and amino acid deprivation conditions. Two mutant alleles, atgcn1‐1 and atgcn1‐2, which are defective in the phosphorylation of eIF2α, showed increased sensitivity to cold stress, compared with the wild type. Ribosome‐bound RNA profiles showed that the translational state of mRNA was higher in atgcn1‐1 than in the wild type. Our result also showed that cold treatment reduced the tendency of the tor mutant seedlings to produce purple hypocotyls. In addition, the kinase activity of TOR was transiently inhibited when plants were exposed to cold stress, suggesting that the inhibition of TOR is another pathway important for plants to respond to cold stress. In conclusion, our results indicate that the AtGCN1‐mediated phosphorylation of eIF2α, which is required for inhibiting the initiation of protein translation, is essential for cold tolerance in Arabidopsis.