The Plant cell

Formation and dissociation of the BSS1 protein complex regulates plant development via brassinosteroid signaling.

PMID 25663622


Brassinosteroids (BRs) play important roles in plant development and the response to environmental cues. BIL1/BZR1 is a master transcription factor in BR signaling, but the mechanisms that lead to the finely tuned targeting of BIL1/BZR1 by BRs are unknown. Here, we identified BRZ-SENSITIVE-SHORT HYPOCOTYL1 (BSS1) as a negative regulator of BR signaling in a chemical-biological analysis involving brassinazole (Brz), a specific BR biosynthesis inhibitor. The bss1-1D mutant, which overexpresses BSS1, exhibited a Brz-hypersensitive phenotype in hypocotyl elongation. BSS1 encodes a BTB-POZ domain protein with ankyrin repeats, known as BLADE ON PETIOLE1 (BOP1), which is an important regulator of leaf morphogenesis. The bss1-1D mutant exhibited an increased accumulation of phosphorylated BIL1/BZR1 and a negative regulation of BR-responsive genes. The number of fluorescent BSS1/BOP1-GFP puncta increased in response to Brz treatment, and the puncta were diffused by BR treatment in the root and hypocotyl. We show that BSS1/BOP1 directly interacts with BIL1/BZR1 or BES1. The large protein complex formed between BSS1/BOP1 and BIL1/BZR1 was only detected in the cytosol. The nuclear BIL1/BZR1 increased in the BSS1/BOP1-deficient background and decreased in the BSS1/BOP1-overexpressing background. Our study suggests that the BSS1/BOP1 protein complex inhibits the transport of BIL1/BZR1 to the nucleus from the cytosol and negatively regulates BR signaling.