Transcriptional regulation is one of the most important mechanisms controlling development and cellular functions in plants and animals. The Arabidopsis thaliana bHLH transcription factor (TF) DYSFUNCTIONL TAPETUM1 (DYT1) is required for normal male fertility and anther development and activates the expression of the bHLH010/bHLH089/bHLH091 genes. Here, we showed that DYT1 is localized to both the cytoplasm and nucleus at anther stage 5 but specifically to the nucleus at anther stage 6 and onward. The bHLH010/bHLH089/bHLH091 proteins have strong nuclear localization signals, interact with DYT1, and facilitate the nuclear localization of DYT1. We further found that the conserved C-terminal BIF domain of DYT1 is required for its dimerization, nuclear localization, transcriptional activation activity, and function in anther development. Interestingly, when the BIF domain of DYT1 was replaced with that of bHLH010, the DYT1N-bHLH010BIF chimeric protein shows nuclear-preferential localization at anther stage 5 but could not fully rescue the dyt1-3phenotype, suggesting that the normal spatio-temporal subcellular localization of DYT1 is important for DYT1 function and/or that the BIF domains from different bHLH members might be functionally distinct. Our results support an important positive feedback regulatory mechanism whereby downstream TFs increase the function of an upstream TF by enhancing its nucleus localization through the BIF domain.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science
- Cell Biology