F-group bZIPs in barley-a role in Zn deficiency.Plant Cell Environ. 2017 Nov; 40(11):2754-2770.PC
Zinc (Zn) deficiency negatively impacts the development and health of plants and affects crop yield. When experiencing low Zn, plants undergo an adaptive response to maintain Zn homeostasis. We provide further evidence for the role of F-group transcription factors, AtbZIP19 and AtbZIP23, in responding to Zn deficiency in Arabidopsis and demonstrate the sensitivity and specificity of this response. Despite their economic importance, the role of F-group bZIPs in cereal crops is largely unknown. Here, we provide new insights by functionally characterizing these in barley (Hordeum vulgare), demonstrating an expanded number of F-group bZIPs (seven) compared to Arabidopsis. The F-group barley bZIPs, HvbZIP56 and HvbZIP62, partially rescue the Zn-dependent growth phenotype and ZIP-transporter gene regulation of an Arabidopsis bzip19-4 bzip23-2 mutant. This supports a conserved mechanism of action in adapting to Zn deficiency. HvbZIP56 localizes to the cytoplasm and nucleus when expressed in Arabidopsis and tobacco. Promoter analysis demonstrates that the barley ZIP transporters that are upregulated under Zn deficiency contain cis Zn-deficiency response elements (ZDREs). ZDREs are also found in particular barley bZIP promoters. This study represents a significant step forward in understanding the mechanisms controlling Zn responses in cereal crops, and will aid in developing strategies for crop improvement.