Arabidopsis GROWTH-REGULATING FACTOR7 Functions as a Transcriptional Repressor of Abscisic Acid- and Osmotic Stress-Responsive Genes, Including DREB2A.
Arabidopsis thaliana DEHYDRATION-RESPONSIVE ELEMENT BINDING PROTEIN2A (DREB2A) functions as a transcriptional activator that increases tolerance to osmotic and heat stresses; however, its expression also leads to growth retardation and reduced reproduction. To avoid these adverse effects, the expression of DREB2A is predicted to be tightly regulated. We identified a short promoter region of DREB2A that represses its expression under nonstress conditions. Yeast one-hybrid screening for interacting factors identified GROWTH-REGULATING FACTOR7 (GRF7). GRF7 bound to the DREB2A promoter and repressed its expression. In both artificial miRNA-silenced lines and a T-DNA insertion line of GRF7, DREB2A transcription was increased compared with the wild type under nonstress conditions. A previously undiscovered cis-element, GRF7-targeting cis-element (TGTCAGG), was identified as a target sequence of GRF7 in the short promoter region of DREB2A via electrophoretic mobility shift assays. Microarray analysis of GRF7 knockout plants showed that a large number of the upregulated genes in the mutant plants were also responsive to osmotic stress and/or abscisic acid. These results suggest that GRF7 functions as a repressor of a broad range of osmotic stress-responsive genes to prevent growth inhibition under normal conditions.