Regulation of miR399f transcription by AtMYB2 affects phosphate starvation responses in Arabidopsis

Dongwon Baek, Min Chul Kim, Hyun Jin Chun, Songhwa Kang, Hyeong Cheol Park, Gilok Shin, Jiyoung Park, Mingzhe Shen, Hyewon Hong, Woe-Yeon Kim, Doh Hoon Kim, Sang Yeol Lee, Ray A Bressan, Hans J Bohnert, Dae-Jin Yun
Plant Physiology 2013, 161 (1): 362-73
Although a role for microRNA399 (miR399) in plant responses to phosphate (Pi) starvation has been indicated, the regulatory mechanism underlying miR399 gene expression is not clear. Here, we report that AtMYB2 functions as a direct transcriptional activator for miR399 in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) Pi starvation signaling. Compared with untransformed control plants, transgenic plants constitutively overexpressing AtMYB2 showed increased miR399f expression and tissue Pi contents under high Pi growth and exhibited elevated expression of a subset of Pi starvation-induced genes. Pi starvation-induced root architectural changes were more exaggerated in AtMYB2-overexpressing transgenic plants compared with the wild type. AtMYB2 directly binds to a MYB-binding site in the miR399f promoter in vitro, as well as in vivo, and stimulates miR399f promoter activity in Arabidopsis protoplasts. Transcription of AtMYB2 itself is induced in response to Pi deficiency, and the tissue expression patterns of miR399f and AtMYB2 are similar. Both genes are expressed mainly in vascular tissues of cotyledons and in roots. Our results suggest that AtMYB2 regulates plant responses to Pi starvation by regulating the expression of the miR399 gene.

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