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Light-dependent suppression of COP1 multimeric complex formation is determined by the blue-light receptor FKF1 in Arabidopsis

Lee, Byoung-Doo, Cha, Joon-Yung, Kim, Mi Ri, Shin, Gyeong-Im, Paek, Nam-Chon, Kim, Woe-Yeon
Biochemical and biophysical research communications 2019 v.508 no.1 pp. 191-197
Arabidopsis thaliana, blue light, circadian rhythm, flowering, gel chromatography, gene overexpression, loss-of-function mutation, mutants, photomorphogenesis, proteins, seed germination, transgenic plants, ubiquitin-protein ligase
CONSTITUTIVELY PHOTOMORPHOGENIC1 (COP1), a multifunctional E3 ligase protein with many target proteins, is involved in diverse developmental processes throughout the plant's lifecycle, including seed germination, the regulation of circadian rhythms, photomorphogenesis, and the control of flowering time. To function, COP1 must form multimeric complexes with SUPPRESSOR OF PHYA1 (SPA1), i.e., [(COP1)2(SPA1)2] tetramers. We recently reported that the blue-light receptor FKF1 (FLAVIN-BINDING, KELCH REPEAT, F-BOX1) represses COP1 activity by inhibiting its homodimerization, but it is not yet clear whether FKF1 affects the formation of COP1-containing multimeric complexes. To explore this issue, we performed size exclusion chromatography (SEC) of Arabidopsis thaliana proteins and found that the levels and composition of COP1-containing multimeric complexes varied throughout a 24-h period. The levels of 440–669 kDa complexes were dramatically reduced in the late afternoon compared to the morning and at night in wild-type plants. During the daytime, the levels of these complexes were reduced in FKF1-overexpressing plants but not in fkf1-t, a loss-of-function mutant of FKF1, suggesting that FKF1 is closely associated with the destabilization of COP1 multimeric protein complexes in a light-dependent manner. We also analyzed the SEC patterns of COP1 multimeric complexes in transgenic plants overexpressing mutant COP1 variants, including COP1L105A (which forms homodimers) and COP1L170A (which cannot form homodimers), and found that COP1 multimeric complexes were scarce in plants overexpressing COP1L170A. These results indicate that COP1 homodimers serve as basic building blocks that assemble into COP1 multimeric complexes with diverse target proteins. We propose that light-activated FKF1 inhibits COP1 homodimerization, mainly by destabilizing 440–669 kDa COP1 complexes, resulting in the repression of CONSTANS-degrading COP1 activity in the late afternoon in long days, but not in short days, thereby regulating photoperiodic flowering in Arabidopsis.