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J Integr Plant Biol, 2020, 62 (8): 1193-1212, Research Article
Ethylene promotes seed iron storage during Arabidopsis seed maturation via ERF95 transcription factor
Ying Sun1, Jia Qi Li1, Jing Ying Yan2, Jun Jie Yuan1, Gui Xin Li3, Yun Rong Wu1, Ji Ming Xu1, Rong Feng Huang4, Nicholas P. Harberd1,5, Zhong Jie Ding1* and Shao Jian Zheng1
1State Key Laboratory of Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, College of Life Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China
2Agricultural Experimental Station, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China
3College of Agronomy and Biotechnology, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China
4Biotechnology Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing 100081, China
5Department of Plant Science, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3RB, United Kingdom

*Correspondence: Zhong Jie Ding (zjding@zju.edu.cn)
doi: 10.1111/jipb.12986
Abstract

Because Iron (Fe) is an essential element, Fe storage in plant seeds is necessary for seedling establishment following germination. However, the mechanisms controlling seed Fe storage during seed development remain largely unknown. Here we reveal that an ERF95 transcription factor regulates Arabidopsis seed Fe accumulation. We show that expression of ERF95 increases during seed maturation, and that lack of ERF95 reduces seed Fe accumulation, consequently increasing sensitivity to Fe deficiency during seedling establishment. Conversely, overexpression of ERF95 has the opposite effects. We show that lack of ERF95 decreases abundance of FER1 messenger RNA in developing seed, which encodes Fe‐sequestering ferritin. Accordingly, a fer1‐1 loss‐of‐function mutation confers reduced seed Fe accumulation, and suppresses ERF95‐promoted seed Fe accumulation. In addition, ERF95 binds to specific FER1 promoter GCC‐boxes and transactivates FER1 expression. We show that ERF95 expression in maturing seed is dependent on EIN3, the master transcriptional regulator of ethylene signaling. While lack of EIN3 reduces seed Fe content, overexpression of ERF95 rescues Fe accumulation in the seed of ein3 loss‐of‐function mutant. Finally, we show that ethylene production increases during seed maturation. We conclude that ethylene promotes seed Fe accumulation during seed maturation via an EIN3‐ERF95‐FER1‐dependent signaling pathway.

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Received: 13 February 2020      Accepted:    Online on:03 July 2020
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