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A seed‐specific transcription factor, HSFA9, anticipates UV‐B light responses by mimicking the activation of the UV‐B receptor in tobacco

Raúl Carranco, Pilar Prieto‐Dapena, Concepción Almoguera, Juan Jordano
plant journal 2022 v.111 no.5 pp. 1439-1452
Arabidopsis, Helianthus annuus, Nicotiana benthamiana, Nicotiana tabacum, drought tolerance, genetically modified organisms, heat shock proteins, lighting, longevity, photomorphogenesis, physiological transport, plant establishment, precipitin tests, proteolysis, radiation resistance, seed maturation, seedlings, tobacco, transcription factors, ubiquitin-protein ligase, ultraviolet radiation
Sunflower heat shock factor A9 (HSFA9, hereafter A9) is a transcription factor involved in seed desiccation tolerance and longevity. A9 also links the regulation of seed maturation with that of seedling photomorphogenesis through visible light receptors. Analyses in transgenic Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco) indicated that A9 also affects responses mediated by NtUVR8, the receptor of ultraviolet light B (UV‐B). We compared the effects of A9 and UV‐B illumination on the nuclear localization of GFP‐NtUVR8 in Nicotiana benthamiana leaves. We also used co‐immunoprecipitation and limited proteolysis for analyzing the interaction between A9 and NtUVR8. We found that A9, by binding to NtUVR8, induced structural changes that resulted in enhancing the nuclear localization of NtUVR8 by hindering its nuclear export. The localization of UVR8 is crucial for receptor activation and function in Arabidopsis, where UV‐B‐activated nuclear UVR8 binds the E3 ubiquitin ligase COP1, leading to enhanced UV‐B responses and photoprotection. A9 similarly activated NtUVR8 by enhancing COP1 binding without UV‐B light. Seedlings and dark‐germinated seeds that overexpress A9 showed primed UV‐B light stress protection. Our results unveil a UV‐B‐independent activation mechanism and a role for UVR8 in plant seeds that might contribute to early stress protection, facilitating seedling establishment.