The transcription factor AtDOF4.2 regulates shoot branching and seed coat formation in Arabidopsis

Hong Feng Zou, Yu Qin Zhang, Wei Wei, Hao Wei Chen, Qing Xin Song, Yun Feng Liu, Ming Yu Zhao, Fang Wang, Bao Cai Zhang, Qing Lin, Wan Ke Zhang, Biao Ma, Yi Hua Zhou, Jin Song Zhang*, Shou Yi Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Plant-specific DOF (DNA-binding with one finger)-type transcription factors regulate various biological processes. In the present study we characterized a silique-abundant gene AtDOF (Arabidopsis thaliana DOF ) 4.2 for its functions in Arabidopsis. AtDOF4.2 is localized in the nuclear region and has transcriptional activation activity in both yeast and plant protoplast assays. The T-M-D motif in AtDOF4.2 is essential for its activation. AtDOF4.2-overexpressing plants exhibit an increased branching phenotype and mutation of the T-M-D motif in AtDOF4.2 significantly reduces branching in transgenic plants. AtDOF4.2 may achieve this function through the up-regulation of three branching-related genes, AtSTM (A. thaliana SHOOT MERISTEMLESS), AtTFL1 (A. thaliana TERMINAL FLOWER1) and AtCYP83B1 (A. thaliana CYTOCHROME P450 83B1). The seeds of an AtDOF4.2-overexpressing plant show a collapse-like morphology in the epidermal cells of the seed coat. The mucilage contents and the concentration and composition of mucilage monosaccharides are significantly changed in the seed coat of transgenic plants. AtDOF4.2 may exert its effects on the seed epidermis through the direct binding and activation of the cell wall loosening-related gene AtEXPA9 (A. thaliana EXPANSIN-A9). The dof4.2 mutant did not exhibit changes in branching or its seed coat; however, the silique length and seed yield were increased. AtDOF4.4, which is a close homologue of AtDOF4.2, also promotes shoot branching and affects silique size and seed yield. Manipulation of these genes should have a practical use in the improvement of agronomic traits in important crops.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)373-388
Number of pages16
JournalBiochemical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 15 Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Arabidopsis
  • AtDOF4.2
  • AtDOF4.4
  • Seed trait
  • Shoot branching
  • Transcription factor


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