ABI3-VP1 Family from Maize

Required domains for ABI3-VP1 family:PF02362

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The VIVIPAROUS (VP1) or ZmABI1 gene from Zea mays is encoded by the gene model Zm00001eb143690 (B73 V5) and was the founding member of this transcription factor family.  The ortholog of Vp1 in Arabidopsis thaliana is the ABSCISIC ACID-INSENSITIVE3 (ABI3) gene (AT3G24650).  Maize embryos normally become dormant in the seed stage and remain so until conditions favorable for growth are provided.  In plants with mutations of this gene mutant kernels germinate before the ear matures (viviparous) and the developing embryos are insensitive to exogenous abscisic acid.  It was found that expression of C1, a MYB regulatory gene for the anthocyanin pathway, is selectively blocked at the mRNA level in vp1 mutant seed tissues, indicating the Vp1 may control the anthocyanin pathway by regulating C1 (McCarty et al., 1989). The cloned gene was found to encode a novel DNA transcription factor with an acidic DNA binding domain (McCarty et al., 1991).  The VP1 harbors this C-terminal B3 DNA binding domain between amino acids 518-613 (pFAM motif PF02362)(Suzuki et al., 1997). Some related proteins also have a second AP2 DNA binding domain PF00847. Later it was found that the sequence from positions -142 to -132 (cgtcCATGCA(TG)) of the C1 gene is essential for VP1 activation (Kao et al., 1996). This motif is known as the Sph/RY motif in Arabidopsis and is found in the promoter of many seed specific promoters.  ZmVP1 may have both activator and repressor functions (Hoecker et al., 1995). Analysis of a maize ABA deficient vp1 vp5 (phytoene desaturase) double mutant indicates that ABA synthesized in the embryo interacts additively with Vp1 to prevent precocious induction of alpha-amylase genes in the aleurone of the developing seed (Hoecker et al., 1999).

In Arabidopsis, ABI3 (AT3G24650) is a central regulator in ABA signaling and is unstable in vivo. It interacts with and can be polyubiquitinated by AIP2 (AT5G20910) in vivo. Based on double mutant analyses, ABI3 interacts genetically with both FUS3 (AT3G26790 - also a VPI-like protein) and LEC1 (AT1G21970 - a CCAAT-HAP3 family member) and is involved in controlling accumulation of chlorophyll and anthocyanins, sensitivity to abscisic acid, and expression of the members of the 12S storage protein gene family. In addition, both FUS3 and LEC1 regulate positively the abundance of the ABI3 protein in the seed. Alternative splicing of ABI3 is developmentally regulated by SUA (AT3G54230).  The role of related B3 domain transcription factors in maize kernel filling has also been described (Grimault et al., 2015).

Last updated June 2023 by John Gray


McCarty DR, Carson CB, Stinard PS, Robertson DS. Molecular Analysis of viviparous-1: An Abscisic Acid-Insensitive Mutant of Maize. Plant Cell. 1989 May;1(5):523-532. doi: 10.1105/tpc.1.5.523. PMID: 12359900; PMCID: PMC159786.

McCarty DR, Hattori T, Carson CB, Vasil V, Lazar M, Vasil IK. The Viviparous-1 developmental gene of maize encodes a novel transcriptional activator. Cell. 1991 Sep 6;66(5):895-905. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(91)90436-3. PMID: 1889090.

Hoecker U, Vasil IK, McCarty DR. Integrated control of seed maturation and germination programs by activator and repressor functions of Viviparous-1 of maize. Genes Dev. 1995 Oct 15;9(20):2459-69. doi: 10.1101/gad.9.20.2459. PMID: 7590227.

Kao CY, Cocciolone SM, Vasil IK, McCarty DR. Localization and interaction of the cis-acting elements for abscisic acid, VIVIPAROUS1, and light activation of the C1 gene of maize. Plant Cell. 1996 Jul;8(7):1171-9. doi: 10.1105/tpc.8.7.1171. PMID: 8768375; PMCID: PMC161197.

Suzuki M, Kao CY, McCarty DR. The conserved B3 domain of VIVIPAROUS1 has a cooperative DNA binding activity. Plant Cell. 1997 May;9(5):799-807. doi: 10.1105/tpc.9.5.799. PMID: 9165754; PMCID: PMC156957.

Hoecker U, Vasil IK, McCarty DR. Signaling from the embryo conditions Vp1-mediated repression of alpha-amylase genes in the aleurone of developing maize seeds. Plant J. 1999 Aug;19(4):371-7. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.1999.00521.x. PMID: 10504559.

Grimault A, Gendrot G, Chaignon S, Gilard F, Tcherkez G, Thévenin J, Dubreucq B, Depège-Fargeix N, Rogowsky PM. Role of B3 domain transcription factors of the AFL family in maize kernel filling. Plant Sci. 2015 Jul;236:116-25. doi: 10.1016/j.plantsci.2015.03.021. Epub 2015 Apr 6. PMID: 26025525.



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