A Crucial Role of GA-Regulated Flavonol Biosynthesis in Root Growth of Arabidopsis

Huijuan Tan, Cong Man, Ye Xie, Jijun Yan, Jinfang Chu, Jirong Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Flavonols have been demonstrated to play many important roles in plant growth, development, and communication with other organisms. Flavonol biosynthesis is spatiotemporally regulated by the subgroup 7 R2R3-MYB (SG7 MYB) transcription factors including MYB11/MYB12/MYB111. However, whether SG7-MYB activity is subject to post-translational regulation remains unclear. Here, we show that gibberellic acid (GA) inhibits flavonol biosynthesis via DELLA proteins in Arabidopsis. Protein-protein interaction analyses revealed that DELLAs (RGA and GAI) interacted with SG7 MYBs (MYB12 and MYB111) both in vitro and in vivo, leading to enhanced affinity of MYB binding to the promoter regions of key genes for flavonol biosynthesis and thus increasing their transcriptional levels. We observed that the level of auxin in the root tip was negatively correlated with root flavonol content. Furthermore, genetic assays showed that loss-of-function mutations in MYB12, which is predominantly expressed in roots, partially rescued the short-root phenotype of the GA-deficient mutant ga1-3 by increasing root meristem size and mature cell size. Consistent with these observations, exogenous application of the flavonol quercetin restored the root meristem size of myb12 ga1-3 to that of ga1-3. Taken together, our data elucidate a molecular mechanism by which GA promotes root growth by directly reducing flavonol biosynthesis. GA is an important phytohormone regulating root growth in response to extracellular cues. This study discovered that GA-promoted root growth of Arabidopsis is largely attributed to a reduced level of flavonols, which inhibit auxin basipetal transport. Further analyses indicated that physical interaction of DELLA proteins with the SG7 MYB transcription factor MYB12 activates expression of flavonol biosynthetic genes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-537
Number of pages17
JournalMolecular Plant
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • auxin
  • flavonol
  • gibberellin
  • root growth
  • stress


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