ATHB4 and HAT3, two class II HD-ZIP transcription factors, control leaf development in Arabidopsis

Jordi Bou-Torrent, Mercè Salla-Martret, Ronny Brandt, Thomas Musielak, Jean Christophe Palauqui, Jaime F. Martínez-García, Stephan Wenkel

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64 Citations (Scopus)


In response to plant proximity or canopy shade, plants can react by altering elongation growth and development. Several members of the class II homeodomain-leucine zipper (HD-ZIPII) transcription factor family have been shown to play an instrumental role in the responses to shade. HD-ZIP members of the class III (HD-ZIPIII), by contrast, are involved in basic patterning processes. We recently showed that REVOLUTA (REV), a member of the HD-ZIPIII family, directly and positively regulates the expression of several genes involved in shade-induced growth, such as those encoding HDZIPII factors HAT 2, HAT 3, ATH B2/HAT 4 and ATH B4, and of the components of the auxin biosynthesis pathway YUCCA5 and TAA1. Furthermore, we could demonstrate a novel role for HD-ZIPIII in shade-induced promotion of growth. Here we show that besides responding to shade, ATHB4 and HAT3 have a critical role in establishing the dorso-ventral axis in cotyledons and developing leaves. Loss-of-function mutations in these two HD-ZIPII genes (athb4 hat3) results in severely abaxialized, entirely radialized leaves. Conversely, overexpression of HAT3 results in adaxialized leaf development. Taken together, our findings unravel a so far unappreciated role for an HD-ZIPII /HD-ZIPIII module required for dorso-ventral patterning of leaves. The finding that HD-ZIPII /HD-ZIPIII also function in shade avoidance suggests that this module is at the nexus of patterning and growth promotion. © 2012 Landes Bioscience.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPlant Signaling and Behavior
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012


  • Arabidopsis thaliana
  • Auxin
  • Leaf development
  • Shade avoidance


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