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ETS-related transcription factor Elf-3 (E74-like factor 3) (Epithelial-restricted with serine box) (Epithelium-restricted Ets protein ESX) (Epithelium-specific Ets transcription factor 1) (ESE-1) [ERT] [ESX] [JEN]


High Ambient Temperature Accelerates Leaf Senescence via PHYTOCHROME-INTERACTING FACTOR 4 and 5 in [i]Arabidopsis[/i].

Leaf senescence is a developmental process by which a plant actively remobilizes nutrients from aged and photosynthetically inefficient leaves to young growing ones by disassembling organelles and degrading macromolecules. Senescence is accelerated by age and environmental stresses such as prolonged darkness. Phytochrome B (phyB) inhibits leaf senescence by inhibiting phytochrome-interacting factor 4 (PIF4) and PIF5 in prolonged darkness. However, it remains unknown whether phyB mediates the temperature signal that regulates leaf senescence. We found the light-activated form of phyB (Pfr) remains active at least four days after a transfer to darkness at 20°C but is inactivated more rapidly at 28°C. This faster inactivation of Pfr further increases PIF4 protein levels at the higher ambient temperature. In addition, PIF4 mRNA levels rise faster after the transfer to darkness at high ambient temperature via a mechanism that depends on ELF3 but not phyB. Increased PIF4 protein then binds to the [i]ORE1[/i] promoter and activates its expression together with ABA and ethylene signaling, accelerating leaf senescence at high ambient temperature. Our results support a role for the phy-PIF signaling module in integrating not only light signaling but also temperature signaling in the regulation of leaf senescence.


  • Arabidopsis
  • PIF4
  • phytochrome
  • senescence
  • temperature

Mutation of Rice Early Flowering3.1 (OsELF3.1) delays leaf senescence in rice.

In Arabidopsis, EARLY FLOWERING3 (ELF3) has pivotal roles in controlling circadian rhythm and photoperiodic flowering. In addition, ELF3 negatively regulates leaf senescence by repressing the transcription of PHYTOCHROME-INTERACTING FACTOR4 (PIF4) and PHYTOCHROME-INTERACTING FACTOR5 (PIF5); elf3 mutants senesce earlier and ELF3-overexpressing (ELF3-OX) plants senesce later than wild type (WT). Here, we show that in contrast to Arabidopsis ELF3, which represses senescence, the rice homolog OsELF3.1 promotes leaf senescence; oself3.1 mutants showed delayed senescence and OsELF3.1-OX plants senesced earlier under both dark-induced and natural senescence conditions. Microarray analysis revealed that in the senescing leaves, a number of senescence-associated genes, phytohormone-related genes, and NAC and WRKY family genes (OsNAP, ONAC106, and OsWRKY42) were differentially expressed in oself3.1 mutants compared with WT. Interestingly, we found that Arabidopsis plants overexpressing OsELF3.1 show delayed leaf senescence, produce short petioles, and flower late in long days, just like Arabidopsis ELF3-OX plants. This demonstrates that the regulatory functions of ELF3 and OsELF3.1 are conserved between Arabidopsis and rice, but the downstream regulatory cascades have opposite effects.

MeSH Terms

  • Arabidopsis
  • Flowers
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Mutation
  • Oryza
  • Plant Leaves


  • Arabidopsis ELF3
  • Leaf senescence
  • OsELF3.1
  • Rice
  • Transcriptional regulation

Phytochrome-interacting transcription factors PIF4 and PIF5 induce leaf senescence in Arabidopsis.

Plants initiate senescence to shed photosynthetically inefficient leaves. Light deprivation induces leaf senescence, which involves massive transcriptional reprogramming to dismantle cellular components and remobilize nutrients. In darkness, intermittent pulses of red light can inhibit senescence, likely via phytochromes. However, the precise molecular mechanisms transducing the signals from light perception to the inhibition of senescence remain elusive. Here, we show that in Arabidopsis, dark-induced senescence requires phytochrome-interacting transcription factors PIF4 and PIF5 (PIF4/PIF5). ELF3 and phytochrome B inhibit senescence by repressing PIF4/PIF5 at the transcriptional and post-translational levels, respectively. PIF4/PIF5 act in the signalling pathways of two senescence-promoting hormones, ethylene and abscisic acid, by directly activating expression of EIN3, ABI5 and EEL. In turn, PIF4, PIF5, EIN3, ABI5 and EEL directly activate the expression of the major senescence-promoting NAC transcription factor ORESARA1, thus forming multiple, coherent feed-forward loops. Our results reveal how classical light signalling connects to senescence in Arabidopsis.

MeSH Terms

  • Aging
  • Arabidopsis
  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • Basic-Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Light
  • Mutation
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Phytochrome
  • Plant Leaves
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcription Factors