GNC and CGA1 Modulate Chlorophyll Biosynthesis and Glutamate Synthase (GLU1/Fd-GOGAT) Expression in Arabidopsis
Chloroplast development is an important determinant of plant productivity and is controlled by environmental factors including amounts of light and nitrogen as well as internal phytohormones including cytokinins and gibberellins (GA). The paralog GATA transcription factors GNC and CGA1/GNL up-regulated by light, nitrogen and cytokinin while also being repressed by GA signaling. Modifying the expression of these genes has previously been shown to influence chlorophyll content in Arabidopsis while also altering aspects of germination, elongation growth and flowering time. In this work, we also use transgenic lines to demonstrate that GNC and CGA1 exhibit a partially redundant control over chlorophyll biosynthesis. We provide novel evidence that GNC and CGA1 influence both chloroplast number and leaf starch in proportion to their transcript level. GNC and CGA1 were found to modify the expression of chloroplast localized GLUTAMATE SYNTHASE (GLU1/Fd-GOGAT), which is the primary factor controlling nitrogen assimilation in green tissue. Altering GNC and CGA1 expression was also found to modulate the expression of important chlorophyll biosynthesis genes (GUN4, HEMA1, PORB, and PORC). As previously demonstrated, the CGA1 transgenic plants demonstrated significantly altered timing to a number of developmental events including germination, leaf production, flowering time and senescence. In contrast, the GNC transgenic lines we analyzed maintain relatively normal growth phenotypes outside of differences in chloroplast development. Despite some evidence for partial divergence, results indicate that regulation of both GNC and CGA1 by light, nitrogen, cytokinin, and GA acts to modulate nitrogen assimilation, chloroplast development and starch production. Understanding the mechanisms controlling these processes is important for agricultural biotechnology.