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Open Access Research article

Ectopic expression of the phosphomimic mutant version of Arabidopsis response regulator 1 promotes a constitutive cytokinin response phenotype

Jasmina Kurepa2, Yan Li12, Sharyn E Perry2 and Jan A Smalle2*

Author Affiliations

1 The Rockefeller University, 1230 York Avenue, New York, NY 10065, USA

2 Plant Physiology, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology Program, Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Kentucky, 1401 University Drive, Lexington, KY 40546, USA

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BMC Plant Biology 2014, 14:28  doi:10.1186/1471-2229-14-28

Published: 14 January 2014

Abstract

Background

Cytokinins control numerous plant developmental processes, including meristem formation and activity, nutrient distribution, senescence timing and responses to both the abiotic and biotic environments. Cytokinin signaling leads to the activation of type-B response regulators (RRBs), Myb-like transcription factors that are activated by the phosphorylation of a conserved aspartate residue in their response receiver domain. Consistent with this, overexpression of RRBs does not substantially alter plant development, but instead leads to cytokinin hypersensitivity.

Results

Here we present comparative analysis of plants overexpressing Arabidopsis RRB 1 (ARR1) or a phosphomimic ARR1D94E mutant in which the conserved aspartate-94 (D94) is replaced by the phosphomimic residue glutamate (E). The D94E substitution causes a 100-fold increase in response activation and instigates developmental and physiological changes that characterize wild-type plants treated with cytokinins or transgenic plants with increased cytokinin content.

Conclusion

The current model of cytokinin signaling emphasizes the essential role of conserved aspartate residue phosphorylation of RRBs in promoting cytokinin responses. Our comparative analyses of developmental and physiological traits of ARR1 and ARR1D94E overexpressing plants revealed that the ARR1D94E protein is indeed a constitutive and wide-spectrum cytokinin response activator.

Keywords:
Arabidopsis; Cytokinin signaling; Type-B response regulator; Phosphomimic mutation; Constitutive hormone response