The DOF transcription factor OBP1 is involved in cell cycle regulation in Arabidopsis thaliana

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In contrast to animal growth, plant growth is largely post-embryonic. Therefore plants have developed new mechanisms to precisely regulate cell proliferation by means of internal and external stimuli whilst the general core cell cycle machinery is conserved between eukaryotes. In this work we demonstrate a role for the Arabidopsis thaliana DNA-binding-with-one-finger (DOF) transcription factor OBP1 in the control of cell division upon developmental signalling. Inducible overexpression of OBP1 resulted in a significant overrepresentation of cell cycle genes among the upregulated transcripts. Direct targets of OBP1, as verified by chromatin immunoprecipitation, include at least the core cell cycle gene CYCD3;3 and the replication-specific transcription factor gene AtDOF2;3. Consistent with our molecular data, short-term activation of OBP1 in cell cultures affected cell cycle re-entry, shortening the duration of the G1 phase and the overall length of the cell cycle, whilst constitutive overexpression of OBP1 in plants influenced cell size and cell number, leading to a dwarfish phenotype. Expression during embryogenesis, germination and lateral root initiation suggests an important role for OBP1 in cell cycle re-entry, operating as a transcriptional regulator of key cell cycle genes. Our findings provide significant input into our understanding of how cell cycle activity is incorporated into plant growth and development.

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