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Differential regulation of EIN3 stability by glucose and ethylene signalling in plants


Glucose is a global regulator of growth and metabolism that is evolutionarily conserved from unicellular microorganisms to multicellular animals and plants1. In photosynthetic plants, glucose shows hormone-like activities and modulates many essential processes, including embryogenesis, germination, seedling development, vegetative growth, reproduction and senescence2,3. Genetic and phenotypic analyses of Arabidopsis mutants with glucose-insensitive (gin) and glucose-oversensitive (glo) phenotypes have identified an unexpected antagonistic interaction between glucose and the plant stress hormone ethylene. The ethylene-insensitive etr1 and ein2 mutants have glo phenotypes, whereas the constitutive ethylene signalling mutant ctr1 is allelic to gin4 (refs 4, 5). The precise molecular mechanisms underlying the complex signalling network that governs plant growth and development in response to nutrients and plant hormones are mostly unknown. Here we show that glucose enhances the degradation of ETHYLENE-INSENSITIVE3 (EIN3), a key transcriptional regulator in ethylene signalling6,7, through the plant glucose sensor hexokinase8. Ethylene, by contrast, enhances the stability of EIN3. The ein3 mutant has a glo phenotype, and overexpression of EIN3 in transgenic Arabidopsis decreases glucose sensitivity.

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Figure 1: Functional analysis of EIN3 in maize protoplasts.
Figure 2: Glucose accelerates EIN3 degradation.
Figure 3: Differential glucose and ethylene signalling.
Figure 4: Opposite effects of ethylene and glucose on EIN3 stability in Arabidopsis.


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We thank B. Lam for help with antibody preparation and for providing plants; T. Miwa for help with generating transgenic Arabidopsis; M. V. Parthasarathy for the actin antibody; F. Rolland and B. Seed for critically reading the manuscript; J. Callis for the UBQ10GUS construct; B. Moore for the AtXHK1 mutant; Y. Niwa for the TPGFP construct; and Y.-H. Cho and R. Patharkar for advice. The work was supported in part by grants from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan (to S.Y.), and the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health (to J.S.).

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Correspondence to Shuichi Yanagisawa.

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Yanagisawa, S., Yoo, SD. & Sheen, J. Differential regulation of EIN3 stability by glucose and ethylene signalling in plants. Nature 425, 521–525 (2003).

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