Plant physiology

Mutation of E1-CONJUGATING ENZYME-RELATED1 decreases RELATED TO UBIQUITIN conjugation and alters auxin response and development.

PMID 17449645


The ubiquitin-like protein RELATED TO UBIQUITIN (RUB) is conjugated to CULLIN (CUL) proteins to modulate the activity of Skp1-Cullin-F-box (SCF) ubiquitylation complexes. RUB conjugation to specific target proteins is necessary for the development of many organisms, including Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). Here, we report the isolation and characterization of e1-conjugating enzyme-related1-1 (ecr1-1), an Arabidopsis mutant compromised in RUB conjugation. The ecr1-1 mutation causes a missense change located two amino acid residues from the catalytic site cysteine, which normally functions to form a thioester bond with activated RUB. A higher ratio of unmodified CUL1 relative to CUL1-RUB is present in ecr1-1 compared to wild type, suggesting that the mutation reduces ECR1 function. The ecr1-1 mutant is resistant to the auxin-like compound indole-3-propionic acid, produces fewer lateral roots than wild type, displays reduced adult height, and stabilizes a reporter fusion protein that is degraded in response to auxin, suggesting reduced auxin signaling in the mutant. In addition, ecr1-1 hypocotyls fail to elongate normally when seedlings are grown in darkness, a phenotype shared with certain other RUB conjugation mutants that is not general to auxin-response mutants. The suite of ecr1-1 molecular and morphological phenotypes reflects roles for RUB conjugation in many aspects of plant growth and development. Certain ecr1-1 elongation defects are restored by treatment with the ethylene-response inhibitor silver nitrate, suggesting that the short ecr1-1 root and hypocotyl result from aberrant ethylene accumulation. Further, silver nitrate supplementation in combination with various auxins and auxin-like compounds reveals that members of this growth regulator family may differentially rely on ethylene signaling to inhibit root growth.