Microrna408 is critical for the HY5-SPl7 gene network that mediates the coordinated response to light and copper

Huiyong Zhang, Xin Zhao, Jigang Li, Huaqing Cai, Xing Wang Deng, Lei Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Light and copper are important environmental determinants of plant growth and development. Despite the wealth of knowledge on both light and copper signaling, the molecular mechanisms that integrate the two pathways remain poorly understood. Here, we use Arabidopsis thaliana to demonstrate an interaction between SQUAMOSA PROMOTER BINDING PROTEIN-LIKE7 (SPL7) and ELONGATED HYPOCOTYL5 (HY5), which mediate copper and light signaling, respectively. Through whole-genome chromatin immunoprecipitation and RNA sequencing analyses, we elucidated the SPL7 regulon and compared it with that of HY5. We found that the two transcription factors coregulate many genes, including those involved in anthocyanin accumulation and photosynthesis. Moreover, SPL7 and HY5 act coordinately to transcriptionally regulate MIR408, which results in differential expression of microRNA408 (miR408) and its target genes in response to changing light and copper conditions. We demonstrate that this regulation is tied to copper allocation to the chloroplast and plastocyanin levels. Finally, we found that constitutively activated miR408 rescues the distinct developmental defects of the hy5, spl7, and hy5 spl7 mutants. These findings revealed the existence of crosstalk between light and copper, mediated by a HY5-SPL7 network. Furthermore, integration of transcriptional and posttranscriptional regulation is critical for governing proper metabolism and development in response to combined copper and light signaling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4933-4953
Number of pages21
JournalPlant Cell
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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