Lower oil content leads to wrinkled, immature seeds

Huang et al. elucidate the relationship between fatty acid biosynthesis and seed maturation in Arabidopsis.

By Ruihua Huang and Shengchun Zhang

 Background: Storage substances such as starch, protein, and oil in crop seeds are major sources of food for humans. These substances mainly accumulate in seeds during the maturation stage. The transcription factor WRINKLED1 (WRI1) is a master regulator of plant oil biosynthesis in Arabidopsis thaliana. However, the underlying mechanism by which WRI1 regulates gene expression remains unclear.

 Question: How does WRI1 regulate the expression of genes involved in fatty acid biosynthesis during seed maturation?

 Findings: We found that BLISTER (BLI) plays a role in promoting the expression of WRI1 target genes involved in fatty acid biosynthesis and co-regulates seed maturation in Arabidopsis together with WRI1. BLI is recruited by WRI1 to the AW boxes in the upstream regions of fatty acid biosynthesis genes. In turn, BLI functions in the repression of CURLY LEAF (CLF, repressor of gene expression) and the recruitment of SWITCH/SUCROSE NONFERMENTING 3B (SWI3B, promoter of gene expression) to facilitate gene expression by modifying the chromatin state.

Next steps: Our work identified a WRI1-interacting seed maturation regulator and provided insights into the roles of the BLI-WRI1 module in controlling seed maturation and gene expression. Next, we will continue to analyze the structure of BLI in detail and the roles of the different regions of this protein in plant growth and development. We also want to explore which proteins are recruited by the BLI-WRI1 module and how they work together with BLI-WRI1 to regulate the accumulation of various storage substances in seeds.

Ruihua Huang, Mengling Liu, Guanping Gong, Pingzhi Wu, Mei Bai, Hongting Qin, Guohe Wang, Huimei Liao, Xiaoxu Wang, Yanqun Li, Hong Wu, Xiaojing Wang, Chengwei Yang, Daniel Schubert, Shengchun Zhang (2022). BLISTER promotes seed maturation and fatty acid biosynthesis by interacting with WRINKLED1 to regulate chromatin dynamics in Arabidopsis. https://doi.org/10.1093/plcell/koac083