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Open Access Research article

The cell morphogenesis ANGUSTIFOLIA (AN) gene, a plant homolog of CtBP/BARS, is involved in abiotic and biotic stress response in higher plants

Emma W Gachomo12, Jose C Jimenez-Lopez3, Sarah R Smith1, Anthony B Cooksey1, Oteri M Oghoghomeh1, Nicholas Johnson1, Lamine Baba-Moussa4 and Simeon O Kotchoni12*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biology, Rutgers University, 315 Penn St, Camden, NJ 08102, USA

2 Center for Computational and Integrative Biology, 315 Penn St, Camden, NJ 08102, USA

3 Department of Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology of Plants, Estación Experimental del Zaidín, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Profesor Albareda 1, Granada E-18008, Spain

4 Department of Biochemistry, University of Abomey-Calavi, Cotonou, Benin

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BMC Plant Biology 2013, 13:79  doi:10.1186/1471-2229-13-79

Published: 14 May 2013

Abstract

Background

ANGUSTIFOLIA (AN), one of the CtBP family proteins, plays a major role in microtubule-dependent cell morphogenesis. Microarray analysis of mammalian AN homologs suggests that AN might function as a transcriptional activator and regulator of a wide range of genes. Genetic characterization of AN mutants suggests that AN might be involved in multiple biological processes beyond cell morphology regulation.

Results

Using a reverse genetic approach, we provide in this paper the genetic, biochemical, and physiological evidence for ANGUSTIFOLIA’s role in other new biological functions such as abiotic and biotic stress response in higher plants. The T-DNA knockout an-t1 mutant exhibits not only all the phenotypes of previously described angustifolia null mutants, but also copes better than wild type under dehydration and pathogen attack. The stress tolerance is accompanied by a steady-state modulation of cellular H2O2 content, malondialdehyde (MDA) derived from cellular lipid peroxidation, and over-expression of stress responsive genes. Our results indicate that ANGUSTIFOLIA functions beyond cell morphology control through direct or indirect functional protein interaction networks mediating other biological processes such as drought and pathogen attacks.

Conclusions

Our results indicate that the ANGUSTIFOLIA gene participates in several biochemical pathways controlling cell morphogenesis, abiotic, and biotic stress responses in higher plants. Our results suggest that the in vivo function of plant ANGUSTIFOLIA has been overlooked and it needs to be further studied beyond microtubule-dependent cell morphogenesis.

Keywords:
Angustifolia; Cell morphogenesis; Arabidopsis thaliana; Abiotic stress; Biotic stress; T-DNA knockout mutant