XYLEM NAC DOMAIN1, an angiosperm NAC transcription factor, inhibits xylem differentiation through conserved motifs that interact with RETINOBLASTOMA-RELATED
New Phytol. 2017,  216 (1):76-89
Zhao C, Lasses T, Bako L, Kong D, Zhao B, Chanda B, Bombarely A, Cruz-Ramírez A, Scheres B, Brunner AM, Beers EP

The Arabidopsis thaliana gene XYLEM NAC DOMAIN1 (XND1) is upregulated in xylem tracheary elements. Yet overexpression of XND1 blocks differentiation of tracheary elements. The molecular mechanism of XND1 action was investigated. Phylogenetic and motif analyses indicated that XND1 and its homologs are present only in angiosperms and possess a highly conserved C-terminal region containing linear motifs (CKII-acidic, LXCXE, E2FTD -like and LXCXE-mimic) predicted to interact with the cell cycle and differentiation regulator RETINOBLASTOMA-RELATED (RBR). Protein-protein interaction and functional analyses of XND1 deletion mutants were used to test the importance of RBR-interaction motifs. Deletion of either the LXCXE or the LXCXE-mimic motif reduced both the XND1-RBR interaction and XND1 efficacy as a repressor of differentiation, with loss of the LXCXE motif having the strongest negative impacts. The function of the XND1 C-terminal domain could be partially replaced by RBR fused to the N-terminal domain of XND1. XND1 also transactivated gene expression in yeast and plants. The properties of XND1, a transactivator that depends on multiple linear RBR-interaction motifs to inhibit differentiation, have not previously been described for a plant protein. XND1 harbors an apparently angiosperm-specific combination of interaction motifs potentially linking the general differentiation regulator RBR with a xylem-specific pathway for inhibition of differentiation.

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