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Open Access Research article

The regulatory role of Pcf11-similar-4 (PCFS4) in Arabidopsis development by genome-wide physical interactions with target loci

Denghui Xing14*, Yajun Wang1, Ruqiang Xu15, Xinfu Ye2, Dewei Yang2 and Qingshun Q Li123*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Botany, Miami University, Oxford, OH 45056, USA

2 Rice Research Institute, Fujian Academy of Agriculture Sciences, Fuzhou, Fujian, China

3 Key Laboratory of the Ministry of Education for Coastal and Wetland Ecosystems, and College of the Environment and Ecology, Xiamen University, Xiamen, Fujian 361102, China

4 Current Address: Department of Biology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80526, USA

5 Current Address: Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA

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BMC Genomics 2013, 14:598  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-14-598

Published: 3 September 2013



The yeast and human Pcf11 functions in both constitutive and regulated transcription and pre-mRNA processing. The constitutive roles of PCF11 are largely mediated by its direct interaction with RNA Polymerase II C-terminal domain and a polyadenylation factor, Clp1. However, little is known about the mechanism of the regulatory roles of Pcf11. Though similar to Pcf11 in multiple aspects, Arabidopsis Pcf11-similar-4 protein (PCFS4) plays only a regulatory role in Arabidopsis gene expression. Towards understanding how PCFS4 regulates the expression of its direct target genes in a genome level, ChIP-Seq approach was employed in this study to identify PCFS4 enrichment sites (ES) and the ES-linked genes within the Arabidopsis genome.


A total of 892 PCFS4 ES sites linked to 839 genes were identified. Distribution analysis of the ES sites along the gene bodies suggested that PCFS4 is preferentially located on the coding sequences of the genes, consistent with its regulatory role in transcription and pre-mRNA processing. Gene ontology (GO) analysis revealed that the ES-linked genes were specifically enriched in a few GO terms, including those categories of known PCFS4 functions in Arabidopsis development. More interestingly, GO analysis suggested novel roles of PCFS4. An example is its role in circadian rhythm, which was experimentally verified herein. ES site sequences analysis identified some over-represented sequence motifs shared by subsets of ES sites. The motifs may explain the specificity of PCFS4 on its target genes and the PCFS4's functions in multiple aspects of Arabidopsis development and behavior.


Arabidopsis PCFS4 has been shown to specifically target on, and physically interact with, the subsets of genes. Its targeting specificity is likely mediated by cis-elements shared by the genes of each subset. The potential regulation on both transcription and mRNA processing levels of each subset of the genes may explain the functions of PCFS4 in multiple aspects of Arabidopsis development and behavior.

Transcription; Polyadenylation factor; RNA processing; Alternative processing; ChIP-seq