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PNAS 105 (44): 17193-17198

Copyright © 2008 by the National Academy of Sciences.


A zinc knuckle protein that negatively controls morning-specific growth in Arabidopsis thaliana

Olivier Loudeta,b,1, Todd P. Michaela,1,2, Brian T. Burgera,c, Claire Le Mettéb, Todd C. Mocklera,d, Detlef Weigela,e, and Joanne Chorya,f,3

aPlant Biology Laboratory, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, 10010 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037; bINRA–Genetics and Plant Breeding SGAP UR254–F-78026 Versailles, France; cDivision of Biological Sciences, Section of Cell and Developmental Biology, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093; dDepartment of Botany and Plant Pathology and Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331; eDepartment of Molecular Biology, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, D-72076 Tübingen, Germany; and fHoward Hughes Medical Institute, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA 92037

Contributed by Joanne Chory, August 19, 2008

Received for publication May 31, 2008.

Abstract: Growth in plants is modulated by a complex interplay between internal signals and external cues. Although traditional mutagenesis has been a successful approach for the identification of growth regulatory genes, it is likely that many genes involved in growth control remain to be discovered. In this study, we used the phenotypic variation between Bay-0 and Shahdara, two natural strains (accessions) of Arabidopsis thaliana, to map quantitative trait loci (QTL) affecting light- and temperature-regulated growth of the embryonic stem (hypocotyl). Using heterogeneous inbred families (HIFs), the gene underlying one QTL, LIGHT5, was identified as a tandem zinc knuckle/PLU3 domain encoding gene (At5g43630; TZP), which carries a premature stop codon in Bay-0. Hypocotyl growth assays in monochromatic light and microarray analysis demonstrate that TZP controls blue light associated growth in a time-of-day fashion by regulating genes involved in growth, such as peroxidase and cell wall synthesis genes. TZP expression is phased by the circadian clock and light/dark cycles to the beginning of the day, the time of maximal growth in A. thaliana in short-day conditions. Based on its domain structure and localization in the nucleus, we propose that TZP acts downstream of the circadian clock and photoreceptor signaling pathways to directly control genes responsible for growth. The identification of TZP thus provides new insight into how daily synchronization of growth pathways plays a critical role in growth regulation.

Key Words: blue light • circadian • fine-mapping • quantitative

Author contributions: O.L., D.W., and J.C. designed research; O.L., T.P.M., B.T.B., and C.L.M. performed research; O.L., T.P.M., and T.C.M. analyzed data; and O.L., T.P.M., D.W., and J.C. wrote the paper.

1O.L. and T.P.M. contributed equally to this work.

2Present address: Department of Plant Biology and Pathology, Waksman Institute of Microbiology, Rutgers University, 190 Frelinghuysen Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854-8020.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

This article contains supporting information online at

3To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: chory{at}

© 2008 by The National Academy of Sciences of the USA

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