Expression of potato RNA-binding proteins StUBA2a/b and StUBA2c induces hypersensitive-like cell death and early leaf senescence in Arabidopsis

Jong Kuk Na, Jae Kwang Kim, Dool Yi Kim, Sarah M. Assmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The Arabidopsis thaliana genome encodes three RNA-binding proteins (RBPs), UBP1-associated protein 2a (UBA2a), UBA2b, and UBA2c, that contain two RNA-recognition motif (RRM) domains. They play important roles in wounding response and leaf senescence, and are homologs of Vicia faba abscisic-acid-activated protein kinase-interacting protein 1 (VfAKIP1). The potato (Solanum tuberosum) genome encodes at least seven AKIP1-like RBPs. Here, two potato RBPs have been characterized, StUBA2a/b and StUBA2c, that are homologous to VfAKIP1 and Arabidopsis UBA2s. Transient expression of StUBA2s induced a hypersensitive-like cell death phenotype in tobacco leaves, and an RRM-domain deletion assay of StUBA2s revealed that the first RRM domain is crucial for the phenotype. Unlike overexpression of Arabidopsis UBA2s, constitutive expression of StUBA2a/b in Arabidopsis did not cause growth arrest and lethality at the young seedling stage, but induced early leaf senescence. This phenotype was associated with increased expression of defence- and senescence-associated genes, including pathogen-related genes (PR) and a senescence-associated gene (SAG13), and it was aggravated upon flowering and ultimately resulted in a shortened life cycle. Leaf senescence of StUBA2a/b Arabidopsis plants was enhanced under darkness and was accompanied by H2O2 accumulation and altered expression of autophagy-associated genes, which likely cause cellular damage and are proximate causes of the early leaf senescence. Expression of salicylic acid signalling and biosynthetic genes was also upregulated in StUBA2a/b plants. Consistent with the localization of UBA2s-GFPs and VfAKIP1-GFP, soluble-modified GFP-StUBA2s localized in the nucleus within nuclear speckles. StUBA2s potentially can be considered for transgenic approaches to induce potato shoot senescence, which is desirable at harvest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4023-4033
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of experimental botany
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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