Arabidopsis BRUTUS-LIKE E3 ligases negatively regulate iron uptake by targeting transcription factor FIT for recycling

Rodríguez-Celma, Jorge and Connorton, James M. and Kruse, Inga and Green, Robert T. and Franceschetti, Marina and Chen, Yi-Tze and Cui, Yan and Ling, Hong-Qing and Yeh, Kuo-Chen and Balk, Janneke (2019) Arabidopsis BRUTUS-LIKE E3 ligases negatively regulate iron uptake by targeting transcription factor FIT for recycling. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 116 (35). pp. 17584-17591. ISSN 0027-8424

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    Abstract

    Organisms need to balance sufficient uptake of iron (Fe) with possible toxicity. In plant roots, a regulon of uptake genes is transcriptionally activated under Fe deficiency, but it is unknown how this response is inactivated when Fe becomes available. Here we describe the function of 2 partially redundant E3 ubiquitin ligases, BRUTUS-LIKE1 (BTSL1) and BTSL2, in Arabidopsis thaliana and provide evidence that they target the transcription factor FIT, a key regulator of Fe uptake, for degradation. The btsl double mutant failed to effectively down-regulate the transcription of genes controlled by FIT, and accumulated toxic levels of Fe in roots and leaves. The C-terminal domains of BTSL1 and BTSL2 exhibited E3 ligase activity, and interacted with FIT but not its dimeric partner bHLH39. The BTSL proteins were able to poly-ubiquitinate FIT in vitro and promote FIT degradation in vivo. Thus, posttranslational control of FIT is critical to prevent excess Fe uptake.