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Paul, Melanie Verena; Iyer, Srignanakshi; Amerhauser, Carmen; Lehmann, Martin; Dongen, Joost T. van and Geigenberger, Peter (2016): Oxygen Sensing via the Ethylene Response Transcription Factor RAP2.12 Affects Plant Metabolism and Performance under Both Normoxia and Hypoxia. In: Plant Physiology, Vol. 172, No. 1: pp. 141-153

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Subgroup-VII-ethylene-response-factor (ERF-VII) transcription factors are involved in the regulation of hypoxic gene expression and regulated by proteasome-mediated proteolysis via the oxygen-dependent branch of the N-end-rule pathway. While research into ERF-VII mainly focused on their role to regulate anoxic gene expression, little is known on the impact of this oxygen-sensing system in regulating plant metabolism and growth. By comparing Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) plants overexpressing N-end-rule-sensitive and insensitive forms of the ERF-VII-factor RAP2.12, we provide evidence that oxygen-dependent RAP2.12 stability regulates central metabolic processes to sustain growth, development, and anoxic resistance of plants. (1) Under normoxia, overexpression of N-end-rule-insensitive Delta 13RAP2.12 led to increased activities of fermentative enzymes and increased accumulation of fermentation products, which were accompanied by decreased adenylate energy states and starch levels, and impaired plant growth and development, indicating a role of oxygen-regulated RAP2.12 degradation to prevent aerobic fermentation. (2) In Delta 13RAP2.12-overexpressing plants, decreased carbohydrate reserves also led to a decrease in anoxic resistance, which was prevented by external Suc supply. (3) Overexpression of Delta 13RAP2.12 led to decreased respiration rates, changes in the levels of tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediates, and accumulation of a large number of amino acids, including Ala and g-amino butyric acid, indicating a role of oxygen-regulated RAP2.12 abundance in controlling the flux-modus of the tricarboxylic acid cycle. (4) The increase in amino acids was accompanied by increased levels of immune-regulatory metabolites. These results show that oxygen-sensing, mediating RAP2.12 degradation is indispensable to optimize metabolic performance, plant growth, and development under both normoxic and hypoxic conditions.

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