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The Arabidopsis thaliana mutant air1 implicates SOS3 in the regulation of anthocyanins under salt stress

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The accumulation of anthocyanins in plants exposed to salt stress has been largely documented. However, the functional link and regulatory components underlying the biosynthesis of these molecules during exposure to stress are largely unknown. In a screen of second site suppressors of the salt overly sensitive3-1 (sos3-1) mutant, we isolated the anthocyanin-impaired-response-1 (air1) mutant. air1 is unable to accumulate anthocyanins under salt stress, a key phenotype of sos3-1 under high NaCl levels (120 mM). The air1 mutant showed a defect in anthocyanin production in response to salt stress but not to other stresses such as high light, low phosphorous, high temperature or drought stress. This specificity indicated that air1 mutation did not affect anthocyanin biosynthesis but rather its regulation in response to salt stress. Analysis of this mutant revealed a T-DNA insertion at the first exon of an Arabidopsis thaliana gene encoding for a basic region-leucine zipper transcription factor. air1 mutants displayed higher survival rates compared to wild-type in oxidative stress conditions, and presented an altered expression of anthocyanin biosynthetic genes such as F3H, F3′H and LDOX in salt stress conditions. The results presented here indicate that AIR1 is involved in the regulation of various steps of the flavonoid and anthocyanin accumulation pathways and is itself regulated by the salt-stress response signalling machinery. The discovery and characterization of AIR1 opens avenues to dissect the connections between abiotic stress and accumulation of antioxidants in the form of flavonoids and anthocyanins.

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The authors would like to thank Ana Rus for the original screen of sos3-1 suppressor mutants and Becky Fagan for her excellent administrative support. The authors would also like to thank the ABRC stock center for T-DNA mutant lines. A graduate fellowship for M.J.V. was provided by the Ross Fellowship program of Purdue University.

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Correspondence to Ray Anthony Bressan.

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Fig. S1 air1-1 phenotype under phosphorous deficiency. Three week old plants of gl1, sos3-1 and air1-1 grown on GM media or GM media without phosphorous; Plants were germinated on control GM media for 7 days and then transferred to minus phosphorous plates. Pictures were taken after 2 and 4 weeks as indicated in figure (TIFF 286 kb)


Fig. S2 Quantification of anthocyanins. Three week old plants of gl1, sos3-1, air1-1 and air1-2 sos3-1 grown on GM media or GM media with 120 mM NaCl; the values are reported as A 535—2(A 650) g−1 fresh weight. Asterisks denote significant differences according to Student (P < 0.05) between control and NaCl treated plants (TIFF 61 kb)

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Van Oosten, M.J., Sharkhuu, A., Batelli, G. et al. The Arabidopsis thaliana mutant air1 implicates SOS3 in the regulation of anthocyanins under salt stress. Plant Mol Biol 83, 405–415 (2013).

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