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The AP2/ERF transcription factor CmERF053 of chrysanthemum positively regulates shoot branching, lateral root, and drought tolerance

Nie, Jing, Wen, Chao, Xi, Lin, Lv, Suhui, Zhao, Qingcui, Kou, Yaping, Ma, Nan, Zhao, Liangjun, Zhou, Xiaofeng
Plant cell reports 2018 v.37 no.7 pp. 1049-1060
Arabidopsis, Chrysanthemum morifolium, auxins, binding proteins, branching, buds, cytokinins, decapitation, drought tolerance, gene expression regulation, genes, ornamental value, phylogeny, root growth, roots, seedlings, transcription factors, water stress
KEY MESSAGE: We find that the DREB subfamily transcription factor, CmERF053, has a novel function to regulate the development of shoot branching and lateral root in addition to affecting abiotic stress. Dehydration-responsive element binding proteins (DREBs) are important plant transcription factors that regulate various abiotic stresses. Here, we isolated an APETALA2/ethylene-responsive factor (AP2/ERF) transcription factor from chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum morifolium ‘Jinba’), CmERF053, the expression of which was rapidly up-regulated by main stem decapitation. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that it belongs to the A-6 group of the DREB subfamily, and the subcellular localization assay confirmed that CmERF053 was a nuclear protein. Overexpression of CmERF053 in Arabidopsis exhibited positive effects of plant lateral organs, which had more shoot branching and lateral roots than did the wild type. We also found that the expression of CmERF053 in axillary buds was induced by exogenous cytokinins. These results suggested that CmERF053 may be involved in cytokinins-related shoot branching pathway. In this study, an altered auxin distribution was observed during root elongation in the seedlings of the overexpression plants. Furthermore, overexpress CmERF053 gene could enhance drought tolerance. Together, these findings indicated that CmERF053 plays crucial roles in regulating shoot branching, lateral root, and drought stress in plant. Moreover, our study provides potential application value for improving plant productivity, ornamental traits, and drought tolerance.