Cytokinin response factor 6 represses cytokinin-associated genes during oxidative stress Academic Article uri icon


  • Cytokinin is a phytohormone that is well known for its roles in numerous plant growth and developmental processes, yet it has also been linked to abiotic stress response in a less defined manner. Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) Cytokinin Response Factor 6 (CRF6) is a cytokinin-responsive AP2/ERF-family transcription factor that, through the cytokinin signaling pathway, plays a key role in the inhibition of dark-induced senescence. CRF6 expression is also induced by oxidative stress, and here we show a novel function for CRF6 in relation to oxidative stress and identify downstream transcriptional targets of CRF6 that are repressed in response to oxidative stress. Analysis of transcriptomic changes in wild-type and crf6 mutant plants treated with H2O2 identified CRF6-dependent differentially expressed transcripts, many of which were repressed rather than induced. Moreover, many repressed genes also show decreased expression in 35S:CRF6 overexpressing plants. Together, these findings suggest that CRF6 functions largely as a transcriptional repressor. Interestingly, among the H2O2 repressed CRF6-dependent transcripts was a set of five genes associated with cytokinin processes: (signaling) ARR6, ARR9, ARR11, (biosynthesis) LOG7, and (transport) ABCG14. We have examined mutants of these cytokinin-associated target genes to reveal novel connections to oxidative stress. Further examination of CRF6-DNA interactions indicated that CRF6 may regulate its targets both directly and indirectly. Together, this shows that CRF6 functions during oxidative stress as a negative regulator to control this cytokinin-associated module of CRF6-dependent genes and establishes a novel connection between cytokinin and oxidative stress response.


  • Zwack, PJ
  • De Clercq, I
  • Howton, TC
  • Hallmark, HT
  • Hurny, A
  • Keshishian, EA
  • Parish, AM
  • Benkova, E
  • Mukhtar, MS
  • Van Breusegem, F
  • Rashotte, AM

publication date

  • 2016

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