Plant Cell Reports

, Volume 33, Issue 10, pp 1673–1686 | Cite as

Citrullus colocynthis NAC transcription factors CcNAC1 and CcNAC2 are involved in light and auxin signaling

  • Zhuoyu Wang
  • Aaron M. Rashotte
  • Fenny DaneEmail author
Original Paper


Key message

Two novel NAC transcription factors from C itrullus colocynthis implicated in light and auxin signaling pathway.


NAC transcription factors (NAM, ATAF1, 2, CUC2) have multiple functions in plant growth and development. Two NACs, CcNAC1 and CcNAC2, were recently identified in the highly drought-tolerant cucurbit species, Citrullus colocynthis. This study examines the functional role of these genes under different qualities of light based on the in silico analysis of the CcNAC1 and CcNAC2 promoters that revealed the presence of several light-associated motifs. The impact of both light and auxin on CcNAC1 and CcNAC2 expression was examined in C. colocynthis leaves, and using reporter (pCcNAC1, 2::GUS) lines in Arabidopsis. Furthermore, the effects of constitutive overexpression (OE-CcNAC1, 2) in Arabidopsis were also examined under a range of conditions to confirm reporter line linkages. White, blue, red, and far-red light treatments resulted in similar patterns of quantitative changes in CcNAC1and CcNAC2 expression in both species, with the highest transcript increases following red light. Photomorphogenic changes in Arabidopsis hypocotyls were correlated with gene transcript levels. In the absence of light, hypocotyls of OE-CcNAC1/CcNAC2 lines were significantly longer as compared to WT. The addition of exogenous auxin (+IAA) to growth medium also resulted in changes to the hypocotyl lengths of overexpression lines and spatiotemporal reporter line changes in seedlings. Our data suggest that CcNAC1, 2 might be functionally important in the light signaling pathway, and appear connected to the hormone auxin. This is the first study to indicate that NAC genes might play a role in both light and auxin signaling pathways.


Citrullus colocynthis NAC Transcription factors Promoters Light Auxin CcNAC1 CcNAC2 



Abscisic acid


Blue light


Citrullus colocynthis




Far-red light




Indole-3-acetic acid




NAM (No apical meristem), ATAF1, 2 (Arabidopsis thaliana activating factor 1, 2), CUC (no apical meristem)






Phytochrome-interacting factors


Far-red light-absorbing form


Red light-absorbing form


Red light


Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction


Wild type



We gratefully acknowledge the support of Dr. Kevin M. Folta from Florida State University for the R, FR and B light treatment equipment.

Supplementary material

299_2014_1646_MOESM1_ESM.docx (592 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 591 kb)


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of HorticultureAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA

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