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O-GlcNAc-mediated interaction between VER2 and TaGRP2 elicits TaVRN1 mRNA accumulation during vernalization in winter wheat.

Nature communications (2014-08-06)
Jun Xiao, Shujuan Xu, Chunhua Li, Yunyuan Xu, Lijing Xing, Yuda Niu, Qing Huan, Yimiao Tang, Changping Zhao, Doris Wagner, Caixia Gao, Kang Chong
ABSTRACT

Vernalization, sensing of prolonged cold, is important for seasonal flowering in eudicots and monocots. While vernalization silences a repressor (FLC, MADS-box transcription factor) in eudicots, it induces an activator (TaVRN1, an AP1 clade MADS-box transcription factor) in monocots. The mechanism for TaVRN1 induction during vernalization is not well understood. Here we reveal a novel mechanism for controlling TaVRN1 mRNA accumulation in response to prolonged cold sensing in wheat. The carbohydrate-binding protein VER2, a jacalin lectin, promotes TaVRN1 upregulation by physically interacting with the RNA-binding protein TaGRP2. TaGRP2 binds to TaVRN1 pre-mRNA and inhibits TaVRN1 mRNA accumulation. The physical interaction between VER2 and TaGRP2 is controlled by TaGRP2 O-GlcNAc modification, which gradually increases during vernalization. The interaction between VER2 and O-GlcNAc-TaGRP2 reduces TaGRP2 protein accumulation in the nucleus and/or promotes TaGRP2 dissociation from TaVRN1, leading to TaVRN1 mRNA accumulation. Our data reveal a new mechanism for sensing prolonged cold in temperate cereals.

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