Microarray analysis of E2Fa-DPa-overexpressing plants uncovers a cross-talking genetic network between DNA replication and nitrogen assimilation.

Previously we have shown that overexpression of the heterodimeric E2Fa-DPa transcription factor in Arabidopsis thaliana results in ectopic cell division, increased endoreduplication, and an early arrest in development. To gain a better insight into the phenotypic behavior of E2Fa-DPa transgenic plants and to identify E2Fa-DPa target genes, a transcriptomic microarray analysis was performed. Out of 4,390 unique genes, a total of 188 had a twofold or more up- (84) or down-regulated (104) expression level in E2Fa-DPa transgenic plants compared to wild-type lines. Detailed promoter analysis allowed the identification of novel E2Fa-DPa target genes, mainly involved in DNA replication. Secondarily induced genes encoded proteins involved in cell wall biosynthesis, transcription and signal transduction or had an unknown function. A large number of metabolic genes were modified as well, among which, surprisingly, many genes were involved in nitrate assimilation. Our data suggest that the growth arrest observed upon E2Fa-DPa overexpression results at least partly from a nitrogen drain to the nucleotide synthesis pathway, causing decreased synthesis of other nitrogen compounds, such as amino acids and storage proteins.

Vlieghe, K., Florquin, K., Vuylsteke, M., Rombauts, S., Van Hummelen, P., Van de Peer, Y., Inzé, D., De Veylder, L. (2003) Microarray analysis of E2Fa-DPa-overexpressingplants uncovers a cross-talking genetic networkbetween DNA replication and nitrogen assimilation. J. Cell Sci. 116(Pt 20):4249-59.

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