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BMC Plant Biol. 2012; 12: 125.
Published online Aug 1, 2012. doi:  10.1186/1471-2229-12-125
PMCID: PMC3438128
Bioinformatic cis-element analyses performed in Arabidopsis and rice disclose bZIP- and MYB-related binding sites as potential AuxRE-coupling elements in auxin-mediated transcription
Kenneth W Berendzen,#1 Christoph Weiste,#2 Dierk Wanke,1 Joachim Kilian,1 Klaus Harter,corresponding author1 and Wolfgang Dröge-Lasercorresponding author2
1Zentrum für Molekularbiologie der Pflanzen, Pflanzenphysiologie, Universität Tübingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 1, 72076, Tübingen, Germany
2Julius-von-Sachs-Institut, Pharmazeutische Biologie, Universität Würzburg, Julius-von-Sachs-Platz 2, 97082, Würzburg, Germany
corresponding authorCorresponding author.
#Contributed equally.
Kenneth W Berendzen: kenneth.berendzen/at/zmbp.uni-tuebingen.de; Christoph Weiste: christoph.weiste/at/uni-wuerzburg.de; Dierk Wanke: dierk.wanke/at/zmbp.uni-tuebingen.de; Joachim Kilian: joachim.kilian/at/zmbp.uni-tuebingen.de; Klaus Harter: klaus.harter/at/zmbp.uni-tuebingen.de; Wolfgang Dröge-Laser: wolfgang.droege-laser/at/uni-wuerzburg.de
Received October 11, 2011; Accepted July 11, 2012.
Abstract
Background
In higher plants, a diverse array of developmental and growth-related processes is regulated by the plant hormone auxin. Recent publications have proposed that besides the well-characterized Auxin Response Factors (ARFs) that bind Auxin Response Elements (AuxREs), also members of the bZIP- and MYB-transcription factor (TF) families participate in transcriptional control of auxin-regulated genes via bZIP Response Elements (ZREs) or Myb Response Elements (MREs), respectively.
Results
Applying a novel bioinformatic algorithm, we demonstrate on a genome-wide scale that singular motifs or composite modules of AuxREs, ZREs, MREs but also of MYC2 related elements are significantly enriched in promoters of auxin-inducible genes. Despite considerable, species-specific differences in the genome structure in terms of the GC content, this enrichment is generally conserved in dicot (Arabidopsis thaliana) and monocot (Oryza sativa) model plants. Moreover, an enrichment of defined composite modules has been observed in selected auxin-related gene families. Consistently, a bipartite module, which encompasses a bZIP-associated G-box Related Element (GRE) and an AuxRE motif, has been found to be highly enriched. Making use of transient reporter studies in protoplasts, these findings were experimentally confirmed, demonstrating that GREs functionally interact with AuxREs in regulating auxin-mediated transcription.
Conclusions
Using genome-wide bioinformatic analyses, evolutionary conserved motifs have been defined which potentially function as AuxRE-dependent coupling elements to establish auxin-specific expression patterns. Based on these findings, experimental approaches can be designed to broaden our understanding of combinatorial, auxin-controlled gene regulation.
Keywords: Cis-elements, cis-element modules, Auxin-regulated transcription, AuxRE, bZIP, MYB, MYC
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