2018 Volume 35 Issue 1 Pages 87-91
Plants grow under threats of environmental changes that could injure cellular viability and damage whole-plant physiology. To defend themselves against such threats, plants induce protective responses, including the production of defense molecules. The red/purple pigment anthocyanin is synthesized upon leaf and fruit development as well as environmental stimuli such as excess light exposure. Therefore, the anthocyanin biosynthesis is considered as a model signaling pathway of the integration of developmental and environmental responses. This integration is tightly regulated by transcription factors, but the integrative mode of these signaling pathways has received little attention. In this study, using an Arabidopsis mutant with mutation in two ETHYLENE RESPONSE FACTOR (ERF) genes, AtERF4 and AtERF8, we investigated the regulatory signaling pathway that leads to the production of anthocyanin in response to light. We detected the accumulation of anthocyanin in detached leaves after incubation on water under light illumination and intact leaves after being transferred into the strong light condition, suggesting that the photoinhibition mediated the production of anthocyanin. Our results demonstrated that the erf mutant decreased the rate and extent of the production of anthocyanin in association with changes of the transcript levels of anthocyanin-biosynthetic genes. As these ERF genes are known regulators of leaf senescence—the final stage of leaf development—we provide an insight into the ERF-mediated integration of two regulatory pathways of the light response and developmental age.