Transcription factor bZIP52 modulates Arabidopsis seed oil biosynthesis through interaction with WRINKLED1

Yuzhou Yang, Que Kong, Wan Ting Tee, Yuqing Li, Pui Man Low, Barunava Patra, Liang Guo, Ling Yuan, Wei Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Transcriptional regulation mediated by combinatorial interaction of transcription factors (TFs) is a key molecular mechanism modulating plant development and metabolism. Basic leucine zipper (bZIP) TFs play important roles in various plant developmental and physiological processes. However, their involvement in fatty acid biosynthesis is largely unknown. Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) WRINKLED1 (WRI1) is a pivotal TF in regulation of plant oil biosynthesis and interacts with other positive and negative regulators. In this study, we identified two bZIP TFs, bZIP21 and bZIP52, as interacting partners of AtWRI1 by yeast-two-hybrid (Y2H)-based screening of an Arabidopsis TF library. We found that coexpression of bZIP52, but not bZIP21, with AtWRI1 reduced AtWRI1-mediated oil biosynthesis in Nicotiana benthamiana leaves. The AtWRI1-bZIP52 interaction was further verified by Y2H, in vitro pull-down, and bimolecular fluorescence complementation assays. Transgenic Arabidopsis plants overexpressing bZIP52 showed reduced seed oil accumulation, while the CRISPR/Cas9-edited bzip52 knockout mutant exhibited increased seed oil accumulation. Further analysis revealed that bZIP52 represses the transcriptional activity of AtWRI1 on the fatty acid biosynthetic gene promoters. Together, our findings suggest that bZIP52 represses fatty acid biosynthesis genes through interaction with AtWRI1, resulting in a reduction of oil production. Our work reports a previously uncharacterized regulatory mechanism that enables fine-tuning of seed oil biosynthesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2628-2639
Number of pages12
JournalPlant Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 3 2023

Bibliographical note

© American Society of Plant Biologists 2023. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: [email protected].


  • Arabidopsis/genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins/genetics
  • Transcription Factors/genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Fatty Acids/metabolism
  • Plant Oils/metabolism
  • Seeds/genetics
  • Plants, Genetically Modified/metabolism


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