The latest progress in plant ER stress response of Prof. Jianxiang Liu’s research group was recently cited by PLOS Genetics
On 27th March, the internationally eminent journal, PLOS Genetics, published an online research paper of Prof. Jianxiang Liu’s team, entitled “Membrane-Associated Transcription Factor NAC089 Controls ER-Stress-Induced Programmed Cell Death in Plants”. In this paper, researchers ingeniously revealed the mechanism of the transformation of NAC089, a membrane transcription factor, from ER membrane to nucleus, regulating programmed cell death (PCD) induced by ER stress.
Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is a organelle where all secretory proteins and most membrane proteins are synthetized and folded. Protein folding is a fine-regulated process. A substantial accumulation of misfolded proteins in the ER can cause ER stress response (also known as unfolded protein response, UPR). By regulating the expression of a series of downstream genes, ER stress response helps protein folding and the degradation of misfolded proteins. Such mechanisms are not only close related to many human diseases, but also play an important role in plant development and stress tolerance.
PCD could be induced in response to a severe ER stress, but the understanding of its molecular mechanism is currently limited. Through cell-biological and biochemical methods, Prof. Liu’s team found ER stress can induce membrane-associated transcription factor NAC089 relocates from the ER membrane to the nucleus under ER stress conditions in Arabidopsis thaliana. Inducible expression of a truncated form of NAC089, in which the transmembrane domain is deleted, induces PCD with increased caspase 3/7-like activity and DNA fragmentation. Knock-down NAC089 in Arabidopsis confers ER stress tolerance and impairs ER-stress-induced caspase-like activity. Transcriptional regulation analysis and ChIP-qPCR reveal that NAC089 plays important role in regulating downstream genes involved in PCD, such as NAC094, MC5 and BAG6. Furthermore, NAC089 is up-regulated by ER stress, which is directly controlled by bZIP28 and bZIP60. These results show that nuclear relocation of NAC089 promotes ER-stress-induced PCD, and both pro-survival and pro-death signals are elicited by bZIP28 and bZIP60 during plant ER stress response. The first author of this paper is Dr. Zhengting Yang, and the correspondence author is Prof. Jianxiang Liu. Related researches had been supported by Ministry of Science and Technology, Natural Science Foundation of China and the Doctoral Program of the Ministry of Education, etc.
Prof. Liu had been focus on stress botany and had reached a series of results in the past few years. He had published many papers as corresponding author in PLOS Genetics, The Plant Cell, The Plant Journal, Molecular Plant and other international academic journals papers.
Citation: Zheng-Ting Yang, Mei-Jing Wang, Ling Sun, Sun-Jie Lu, Dong-Ling Bi, Le Sun, Ze-Ting Song, Shuang-Shuang Zhang, Shun-Fan Zhouand Jian-Xiang Liu* (2014) The membrane-associated transcription factor NAC089 controls ER-stress-induced programmed cell death in plants. PLOS Genetics. 10(3): e1004243.