Open Access Research article

GIGANTUS1 (GTS1), a member of Transducin/WD40 protein superfamily, controls seed germination, growth and biomass accumulation through ribosome-biogenesis protein interactions in Arabidopsis thaliana

Emma W Gachomo12, Jose C Jimenez-Lopez34, Lyla Jno Baptiste1 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 (CCIB), Rutgers University, 315 Penn St., Camden, NJ 08102, USA

3 The UWA Institute of Agriculture, The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, Perth, WA 6009, Australia

4 Department of Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology of Plants, Estación Experimental del Zaidín, High Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), Profesor Albareda 1, Granada E-18008, Spain

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BMC Plant Biology 2014, 14:37  doi:10.1186/1471-2229-14-37

Published: 27 January 2014



WD40 domains have been found in a plethora of eukaryotic proteins, acting as scaffolding molecules assisting proper activity of other proteins, and are involved in multi-cellular processes. They comprise several stretches of 44-60 amino acid residues often terminating with a WD di-peptide. They act as a site of protein-protein interactions or multi-interacting platforms, driving the assembly of protein complexes or as mediators of transient interplay among other proteins. In Arabidopsis, members of WD40 protein superfamily are known as key regulators of plant-specific events, biologically playing important roles in development and also during stress signaling.


Using reverse genetic and protein modeling approaches, we characterize GIGANTUS1 (GTS1), a new member of WD40 repeat protein in Arabidopsis thaliana and provide evidence of its role in controlling plant growth development. GTS1 is highly expressed during embryo development and negatively regulates seed germination, biomass yield and growth improvement in plants. Structural modeling analysis suggests that GTS1 folds into a β-propeller with seven pseudo symmetrically arranged blades around a central axis. Molecular docking analysis shows that GTS1 physically interacts with two ribosomal protein partners, a component of ribosome Nop16, and a ribosome-biogenesis factor L19e through β-propeller blade 4 to regulate cell growth development.


Our results indicate that GTS1 might function in plant developmental processes by regulating ribosomal structural features, activities and biogenesis in plant cells. Our results suggest that GIGANTUS1 might be a promising target to engineer transgenic plants with higher biomass and improved growth development for plant-based bioenergy production.

Arabidopsis; Gigantus1; Gene expression; Homology modeling; Docking