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Identification of regulatory pathways controlling gene expression of stress-responsive mitochondrial proteins in Arabidopsis

  • Lois H M Ho
  • Estelle Giraud
  • Vindya Uggalla
  • Ryan Lister
  • Rachel Clifton
  • Angela Glen
  • Dave Thirkettle-Watts
  • Olivier Van Aken
  • James Whelan
Publishing year: 2008-08
Language: English
Pages: 73-1858
Publication/Series: Plant Physiology
Volume: 147
Issue: 4
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: American Society of Plant Biologists

Abstract english

In this study we analyzed transcript abundance and promoters of genes encoding mitochondrial proteins to identify signaling pathways that regulate stress-induced gene expression. We used Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) alternative oxidase AOX1a, external NADP H-dehydrogenase NDB2, and two additional highly stress-responsive genes, At2g21640 and BCS1. As a starting point, the promoter region of AOX1a was analyzed and functional analysis identified 10 cis-acting regulatory elements (CAREs), which played a role in response to treatment with H(2)O(2), rotenone, or both. Six of these elements were also functional in the NDB2 promoter. The promoter region of At2g21640, previously defined as a hallmark of oxidative stress, shared two functional CAREs with AOX1a and was responsive to treatment with H(2)O(2) but not rotenone. Microarray analysis further supported that signaling pathways induced by H(2)O(2) and rotenone are not identical. The promoter of BCS1 was not responsive to H(2)O(2) or rotenone, but highly responsive to salicylic acid (SA), whereas the promoters of AOX1a and NDB2 were unresponsive to SA. Analysis of transcript abundance of these genes in a variety of defense signaling mutants confirmed that BCS1 expression is regulated in a different manner compared to AOX1a, NDB2, and At2g21640. These mutants also revealed a pathway associated with programmed cell death that regulated AOX1a in a manner distinct from the other genes. Thus, at least three distinctive pathways regulate mitochondrial stress response at a transcriptional level, an SA-dependent pathway represented by BCS1, a second pathway that represents a convergence point for signals generated by H(2)O(2) and rotenone on multiple CAREs, some of which are shared between responsive genes, and a third pathway that acts via EDS1 and PAD4 regulating only AOX1a. Furthermore, posttranscriptional regulation accounts for changes in transcript abundance by SA treatment for some genes.


  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Botany
  • Arabidopsis
  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Oxidoreductases
  • Plant Proteins
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Rotenone
  • Signal Transduction
  • Uncoupling Agents


  • ISSN: 0032-0889
Olivier van Aken
E-mail: olivier [dot] van_aken [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Senior lecturer

Molecular Cell Biology

+46 46 222 94 13



Research group

Plant Biology



Doctoral students and postdocs

PhD students, main supervisor

Cuong Tran