Environmental factors greatly impact plant gene expression and concentrations of cellular metabolites such as sugars and amino acids. The changed metabolite concentrations affect the expression of many genes both transcriptionally and post-transcriptionally.Recent Progress
Sucrose acts as a signalling molecule in the control of translation of the S1 class basic leucine zipper transcription factor (bZIP) genes. In these genes the main bZIP open reading frames (ORFs) are preceded by upstream open reading frames (uORFs). The presence of uORFs generally inhibits translation of the following ORF but can also be instrumental in specific translational control. bZIP11, a member of the S1 class bZIP genes, harbours four uORFs of which uORF2 is required for translational control in response to sucrose concentrations. This uORF encodes the Sucrose Control peptide (SC-peptide), which is evolutionarily conserved among all S1 class bZIP genes in different plant species. Arabidopsis thaliana bZIP11 and related bZIP genes seem to be important regulators of metabolism. These proteins are targets of the Snf1-related protein kinase 1 (SnRK1) KIN10 and KIN11, which are responsive to energy deprivation as well as to various stresses. In response to energy deprivation, ribosomal biogenesis is repressed to preserve cellular function and maintenance. Other key regulators of ribosomal biogenesis such as the protein kinase Target of Rapamycin (TOR) are tightly regulated in response to stress.Conclusions
Plants use translational control of gene expression to optimize growth and development in response to stress as well as to energy deprivation. This Botanical Briefing discusses the role of sucrose signalling in the translational control of bZIP11 and the regulation of ribosomal biogenesis in response to metabolic changes and stress conditions.