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1.  Roles of arabidopsis WRKY18, WRKY40 and WRKY60 transcription factors in plant responses to abscisic acid and abiotic stress 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:281.
WRKY transcription factors are involved in plant responses to both biotic and abiotic stresses. Arabidopsis WRKY18, WRKY40, and WRKY60 transcription factors interact both physically and functionally in plant defense responses. However, their role in plant abiotic stress response has not been directly analyzed.
We report that the three WRKYs are involved in plant responses to abscisic acid (ABA) and abiotic stress. Through analysis of single, double, and triple mutants and overexpression lines for the WRKY genes, we have shown that WRKY18 and WRKY60 have a positive effect on plant ABA sensitivity for inhibition of seed germination and root growth. The same two WRKY genes also enhance plant sensitivity to salt and osmotic stress. WRKY40, on the other hand, antagonizes WRKY18 and WRKY60 in the effect on plant sensitivity to ABA and abiotic stress in germination and growth assays. Both WRKY18 and WRKY40 are rapidly induced by ABA, while induction of WRKY60 by ABA is delayed. ABA-inducible expression of WRKY60 is almost completely abolished in the wrky18 and wrky40 mutants. WRKY18 and WRKY40 recognize a cluster of W-box sequences in the WRKY60 promoter and activate WRKY60 expression in protoplasts. Thus, WRKY60 might be a direct target gene of WRKY18 and WRKY40 in ABA signaling. Using a stable transgenic reporter/effector system, we have shown that both WRKY18 and WRKY60 act as weak transcriptional activators while WRKY40 is a transcriptional repressor in plant cells.
We propose that the three related WRKY transcription factors form a highly interacting regulatory network that modulates gene expression in both plant defense and stress responses by acting as either transcription activator or repressor.
PMCID: PMC3023790  PMID: 21167067
2.  Dynamic changes in genome-wide histone H3 lysine 4 methylation patterns in response to dehydration stress in Arabidopsis thaliana 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:238.
The molecular mechanisms of genome reprogramming during transcriptional responses to stress are associated with specific chromatin modifications. Available data, however, describe histone modifications only at individual plant genes induced by stress. We have no knowledge of chromatin modifications taking place at genes whose transcription has been down-regulated or on the genome-wide chromatin modification patterns that occur during the plant's response to dehydration stress.
Using chromatin immunoprecipitation and deep sequencing (ChIP-Seq) we established the whole-genome distribution patterns of histone H3 lysine 4 mono-, di-, and tri-methylation (H3K4me1, H3K4me2, and H3K4me3, respectively) in Arabidopsis thaliana during watered and dehydration stress conditions. In contrast to the relatively even distribution of H3 throughout the genome, the H3K4me1, H3K4me2, and H3K4me3 marks are predominantly located on genes. About 90% of annotated genes carry one or more of the H3K4 methylation marks. The H3K4me1 and H3K4me2 marks are more widely distributed (80% and 84%, respectively) than the H3K4me3 marks (62%), but the H3K4me2 and H3K4me1 levels changed only modestly during dehydration stress. By contrast, the H3K4me3 abundance changed robustly when transcripts levels from responding genes increased or decreased. In contrast to the prominent H3K4me3 peaks present at the 5'-ends of most transcribed genes, genes inducible by dehydration and ABA displayed atypically broader H3K4me3 distribution profiles that were present before and after the stress.
A higher number (90%) of annotated Arabidopsis genes carry one or more types of H3K4me marks than previously reported. During the response to dehydration stress the changes in H3K4me1, H3K4me2, and H3K4me3 patterns show different dynamics and specific patterns at up-regulated, down-regulated, and unaffected genes. The different behavior of each methylation mark during the response process illustrates that they have distinct roles in the transcriptional response of implicated genes. The broad H3K4me3 distribution profiles on nucleosomes of stress-induced genes uncovered a specific chromatin pattern associated with many of the genes involved in the dehydration stress response.
PMCID: PMC3095321  PMID: 21050490

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