The function of the WRI1-TCP4 regulatory module in lipid biosynthesis

Que Kong, Yuzhou Yang, Pui Man Low, Liang Guo, Ling Yuan, Wei Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The plant-specific TCP transcription factors play pivotal roles in various processes of plant growth and development. However, little is known regarding the functions of TCPs in plant oil biosynthesis. Our recent work showed that TCP4 mediates oil production via interaction with WRINKLED1 (WRI1), an essential transcription factor governing plant fatty acid biosynthesis. Arabidopsis WRI1 (AtWRI1) physically interacts with multiple TCPs, including TCP4, TCP10, and TCP24. Transient co-expression of AtWRI1 with TCP4, but not TCP10 or TCP24, represses oil accumulation in Nicotiana benthamiana leaves. Increased TCP4 in transgenic plants overexpressing a miR319-resistant TCP4 (rTCP4) decreased the expression of AtWRI1 target genes. The tcp4 knockout mutant, the jaw-D mutant with significant reduction of TCP4 expression, and a tcp2 tcp4 tcp10 triple mutant, display increased seed oil contents compared to the wild-type Arabidopsis. The APETALA2 (AP2) transcription factor WRI1 is characterized by regulating fatty acid biosynthesis through cross–family interactions with multiple transcriptional, post-transcriptional, and post-translational regulators. The interacting regulator modules control the range of AtWRI1 transcriptional activity, allowing spatiotemporal modulation of lipid production. Interaction of TCP4 with AtWRI1, which results in a reduction of AtWRI1 activity, represents a newly discovered mechanism that enables the fine-tuning of plant oil biosynthesis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1812878
JournalPlant Signaling and Behavior
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Arabidopsis
  • TCP4
  • WRI1
  • plant oil biosynthesis
  • protein–protein interaction
  • transcriptional activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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