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Cuticular wax biosynthesis is positively regulated by WRINKLED4, an AP2/ERF-type transcription factor, in Arabidopsis stems
Chan Song Park, Young Sam Go, Mi Chung Suh
  The Plant Journal , 88 , 257-270
The aerial surfaces of terrestrial plants are covered by a cuticular wax layer, which protects the plants from environmental stresses such as desiccation, high irradiance, and UV radiation. Cuticular wax deposition is regulated in an organ-specific manner; Arabidopsis stems have more than 10-fold higher wax loads than leaves. In this study, we found that WRINKLED4 (WRI4), encoding an AP2/ERF (ethylene-responsive factor) transcription factor (TF), is predominantly expressed in stem epidermis, is upregulated by salt stress, and is involved in activating cuticular wax biosynthesis in Arabidopsis stems. WRI4 harbors a transcriptional activation domain at its N-terminus, and fluorescent signals from a WRI4:eYFP construct were localized to the nuclei of tobacco leaf protoplasts. Deposition of epicuticular wax crystals on stems was reduced in wri4-1 and wri4-3 knockout mutants. Total wax loads were reduced by ~28% in wri4 stems but were not altered in wri4 siliques or leaves compared to the wild type. The levels of 29-carbon long alkanes, ketones, and secondary alcohols, which are the most abundant components of stem waxes, were significantly reduced in wri4 stems relative to the wild type. A transactivation assay in tobacco protoplasts and a chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assay showed that the expression of long-chain acyl-CoA synthetase1 (LACS1), β–ketoacyl CoA reductase1 (KCR1), PASTICCINO2 (PAS2), trans-2,3-enoyl-CoA reductase (ECR), and bifunctional wax synthase/acyl-CoA: diacylglycerol acyltransferase (WSD1) is positively regulated by direct binding of WRI4 to their promoters. Taken together, these results suggest that WRI4 is a transcriptional activator that specifically controls cuticular wax biosynthesis in Arabidopsis stems.