Plant Molecular Biology

, Volume 96, Issue 4–5, pp 367–374 | Cite as

The Arabidopsis histone chaperone FACT is required for stress-induced expression of anthocyanin biosynthetic genes

  • Alexander Pfab
  • Matthias Breindl
  • Klaus D. Grasser


Key message

The histone chaperone FACT is involved in the expression of genes encoding anthocyanin biosynthetic enzymes also upon induction by moderate high-light and therefore contributes to the stress-induced plant pigmentation.


The histone chaperone FACT consists of the SSRP1 and SPT16 proteins and associates with transcribing RNAPII (RNAPII) along the transcribed region of genes. FACT can promote transcriptional elongation by destabilising nucleosomes in the path of RNA polymerase II, thereby facilitating efficient transcription of chromatin templates. Transcript profiling of Arabidopsis plants depleted in SSRP1 or SPT16 demonstrates that only a small subset of genes is differentially expressed relative to wild type. The majority of these genes is either up- or down-regulated in both the ssrp1 and spt16 plants. Among the down-regulated genes, those encoding enzymes of the biosynthetic pathway of the plant secondary metabolites termed anthocyanins (but not regulators of the pathway) are overrepresented. Upon exposure to moderate high-light stress several of these genes are up-regulated to a lesser extent in ssrp1/spt16 compared to wild type plants, and accordingly the mutant plants accumulate lower amounts of anthocyanin pigments. Moreover, the expression of SSRP1 and SPT16 is induced under these conditions. Therefore, our findings indicate that FACT is a novel factor required for the accumulation of anthocyanins in response to light-induction.


SSRP1 SPT16 Chromatin Histones Gene transcription 



We thank Thomas Stempfl for help with the microarray analyses and Gerd Jürgens for the Arabidopsis line harbouring the AtRPS5A::GUS construct. This work was supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) through Grant Gr1159/14-1 and the EC Research Training Network CHIP-ET, FP7-PEOPLE-2013-ITN607880 to K.D.G.

Author contributions

KDG conceived and supervised the study; AP and KDG designed experiments; AP and MB performed experiments; all authors analysed data; KDG wrote the manuscript; all authors reviewed and edited the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interests.

Supplementary material

11103_2018_701_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.1 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 1097 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cell Biology & Plant Biochemistry, Biochemistry CentreUniversity of RegensburgRegensburgGermany

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