Tubby-like Protein 2 regulates homogalacturonan biosynthesis in Arabidopsis seed coat mucilage

  • Meng Wang
  • Zongchang Xu
  • Rana Imtiaz Ahmed
  • Yiping Wang
  • Ruibo Hu
  • Gongke Zhou
  • Yingzhen KongEmail author


Key message

A possible transcription factor TLP2 was identified to be involved in the regulation of HG biosynthesis in Arabidopsis seed mucilage. TLP2 can translocate into nucleus from plasma membrane by interacting with NF-YC3. The discovery of TLP2 gene function can further fulfill the regulatory network of pectin biosynthesis in Arabidopsis thaliana.


Arabidopsis seed coat mucilage is an excellent model system to study the biosynthesis, function and regulation of pectin. Rhamnogalacturonan I (RG-I) and homogalacturonan (HG) are the major polysaccharides constituent of the Arabidopsis seed coat mucilage. Here, we identified a Tubby-like gene, Tubby-like protein 2 (TLP2), which was up-regulated in developing siliques when mucilage began to be produced. Ruthenium red (RR) staining of the seeds showed defective mucilage of tlp2-1 mutant after vigorous shaking compared to wild type (WT). Monosaccharide composition analysis revealed that the amount of total sugars and galacturonic acid (GalA) decreased significantly in the adherent mucilage (AM) of tlp2-1 mutant. Immunolabelling and dot immunoblotting analysis showed that unesterified HG decreased in the tlp2-1 mutant. Furthermore, TLP2 can translocate into nucleus by interacting with Nuclear Factor Y subunit C3 (NF-YC3) to function as a transcription factor. RNA-sequence and transactivation assays revealed that TLP2 could activate UDP-glucose 4-epimerase 1 (UGE1). In all, it is concluded that TLP2 could regulate the biosynthesis of HG possibly through the positive activation of UGE1.


TLP2 Transcription factor Nucleus translocation Homogalacturonan Galacturonic acid 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31470291, 31670302), the National Key Technology R&D Program (2015BAD15B03), the Taishan Scholar Program of Shandong (to GZ) and the Elite Youth Program of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (to YK).

Authors’ contributions

MW, ZX, YK, RH and GZ conceived the study. MW, ZX and YW performed the experiments. MW analyzed the data and ZX prepared the figures. MW, ZX, Ahmed. RI and YK drafted the manuscript. All of the authors discussed the results, edited the manuscript, and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11103_2019_827_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (21.1 mb)
Supplementary material 1 Immunolabelling and immunoblotting of CCRC-M36 in tlp2-1 mutants. A: Immnunolabeling of CCRC-M36. The first line indicates the merged images of double labeling with CCRC-M36 and calcofluor, the second line indicates the calcofluor labeling images, the third line indicates CCRC-M36 labeling. Scale bar = 100 µm. B: Immunoblotting results of RG I backbone from soluble mucilage and adherent mucilage of WT, tlp2-1, complemented tlp2-1 seeds. The extracted dried mucilage were resolved in deionized water and serially diluted, and spotted on a nitrocellulose membrane. Dot blot analyses with CCRC-M36 which recognizes RG I backbone (PDF 21598 KB)
11103_2019_827_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (40.9 mb)
Supplementary material 2 Immunolabelling of JIM7 and JIM5 in tlp2-1 mutant seed coat mucilage. A: Immunolabelling of JIM7 which recognizes esterified HG. A1-A3, merged images of double labeling with JIM7 and calcofluor. A4-A6, staining of calcofluor. A7-A9, staining of JIM7. Scale bar =50 µm. The red arrow head indicates the JIM7 signals. B: Immunolabelling of JIM5 which recognizes low esterified HG. B1-B3, merged images of double labeling with JIM5 and calcofluor. B4-B6, staining of calcofluor. B7-B9, staining of JIM5. Scale bar =50 µm (PDF 41838 KB)
11103_2019_827_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (16.7 mb)
Supplementary material 3 Immunoblotting of homogalacturonan in tlp2-1 mutant seed coat mucilage. Immunoblotting results of partially esterified and low esterified HG from soluble mucilage and adherent mucilage of WT, tlp2-1, complemented tlp2-1 seeds. The extracted dried mucilage were resolved in deionized water and serially diluted, and spotted on a nitrocellulose membrane. Dot blot analyses with JIM7, JIM5 which can bind esterified and low esterified HG, respectively (PDF 17062 KB)
11103_2019_827_MOESM4_ESM.pdf (790 kb)
Supplementary material 4 The expression pattern of TLP2 in different tissues. The expression patterns of TLP2 in different tissues and organs depicted by the Arabidopsis AtGenExpress database/ BAR eFP browser (PDF 790 KB)
11103_2019_827_MOESM5_ESM.pdf (3.4 mb)
Supplementary material 5 The subcellular localization of pTLP2::TLP2-GFP. A: TLP2-GFP fusion protein subcellular localization. B: Bright field. C: Merged image (PDF 3518 KB)
11103_2019_827_MOESM6_ESM.xlsx (10 kb)
Supplementary material 6 (XLSX 9 KB)
11103_2019_827_MOESM7_ESM.xlsx (23 kb)
Supplementary material 7 (XLSX 22 KB)


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory for Tobacco Gene Resources, Tobacco Research InstituteChinese Academy of Agricultural SciencesQingdaoChina
  2. 2.Graduate School of Chinese Academy of Agricultural ScienceBeijingChina
  3. 3.Qingdao Engineering Research Center of Biomass Resources and Environment, Qingdao Institute of Bioenergy and Bioprocess TechnologyChinese Academy of SciencesQingdaoChina
  4. 4.Graduate School of University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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