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Open Access Research article

Global transcript profiling of transgenic plants constitutively overexpressing the RNA-binding protein AtGRP7

Corinna Streitner1, Lars Hennig23, Christin Korneli1 and Dorothee Staiger1*

Author Affiliations

1 Molecular Cell Physiology, Bielefeld University, Bielefeld, Germany

2 Department of Biology & Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

3 Department of Plant Biology and Forest Genetics, Uppsala BioCenter, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden

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BMC Plant Biology 2010, 10:221  doi:10.1186/1471-2229-10-221

Published: 14 October 2010

Abstract

Background

The clock-controlled RNA-binding protein AtGRP7 influences circadian oscillations of its own transcript at the post-transcriptional level. To identify additional targets that are regulated by AtGRP7, transcript profiles of transgenic plants constitutively overexpressing AtGRP7 (AtGRP7-ox) and wild type plants were compared.

Results

Approximately 1.4% of the transcripts represented on the Affymetrix ATH1 microarray showed changes in steady-state abundance upon AtGRP7 overexpression. One third of the differentially expressed genes are controlled by the circadian clock, and they show a distinct bias of their phase: The up-regulated genes preferentially peak around dawn, roughly opposite to the AtGRP7 peak abundance whereas the down-regulated genes preferentially peak at the end of the day. Further, transcripts responsive to abiotic and biotic stimuli were enriched among AtGRP7 targets. Transcripts encoding the pathogenesis-related PR1 and PR2 proteins were elevated in AtGRP7-ox plants but not in plants overexpressing AtGRP7 with a point mutation in the RNA-binding domain, indicating that the regulation involves RNA binding activity of AtGRP7. Gene set enrichment analysis uncovered components involved in ribosome function and RNA metabolism among groups of genes upregulated in AtGRP7-ox plants, consistent with its role in post-transcriptional regulation.

Conclusion

Apart from regulating a suite of circadian transcripts in a time-of-day dependent manner AtGRP7, both directly and indirectly, affects other transcripts including transcripts responsive to abiotic and biotic stimuli. This suggests a regulatory role of AtGRP7 in the output of the endogenous clock and a complex network of transcripts responsive to external stimuli downstream of the AtGRP7 autoregulatory circuit.