Functional and expression analysis of Arabidopsis SPA genes during seedling photomorphogenesis and adult growth

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Abstract

Summary

The four members of the Suppressor of phyA-105 (SPA) gene family function to inhibit photomorphogenesis in dark- and light-grown seedlings. Additionally, SPA1–SPA4 regulate elongation growth of adult plants. In these processes, SPA2, SPA3 and SPA4 have overlapping but distinct functions. Here, we have further investigated the role of SPA1 which is partially masked by functional redundancy. We show that SPA1 represses not only red, far-red and blue light responses in a PHYA-dependent fashion, but also acts to suppress light signaling in darkness. We demonstrate that deletion-derivatives of SPA1 lacking the complete N-terminus or part of the kinase-like domain retain SPA1 function in light- and dark-grown seedlings, while deletion of the constitutive photomorphogenesis 1 (COP1)-interacting coiled-coil domain eliminates SPA1 activity. This suggests that the coiled-coil domain and the WD-repeat domain of SPA1 are sufficient for SPA1 function. An analysis of spa2 spa3 spa4 triple mutants demonstrates that SPA1, like SPA2, is sufficient for normal etiolation of dark-grown seedlings. In light-grown seedlings and adult plants, in contrast, SPA1 function is divergent from SPA2 function, with SPA1 playing the predominant role. Levels of SPA1, SPA3 and SPA4 transcript are increased by red, far-red and blue light, consistent with a role of these three SPA genes in light-grown seedlings. The abundance of SPA2 mRNA, in contrast, is not altered by light. Taken together, the analysis of SPA transcript levels suggests that differences in SPA gene expression patterns contribute to divergence in SPA1–SPA4 function.

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