The wheat transcription factor TaGAMyb recruits histone acetyltransferase and activates the expression of a high-molecular-weight glutenin subunit gene

Glutenin proteins in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) flour confer unique viscoelastic properties to dough products and, therefore, the concentration and composition of the glutenin proteins determine its end-use value. However, the mechanisms governing the glutenin gene expression remain elusive. In this study, we report that wheat TaGAMyb activates the high-molecular-weight glutenin subunit genes (TaGLU) through recruiting the histone acetyltransferase GCN5. By sequencing the promoters of TaGLU-1 genes from 40 modern wheat cultivars, we identified eight types of TaGAMyb binding motifs and verified these by electrophoretic mobility shift assays. The number of TaGAMyb binding motifs in TaGLU-1 genes is correlated with the abundance of glutenin in different cultivars.
Chromatin immunoprecipitation plus polymerase chain reaction (ChIP-PCR) analysis reveals that TaGCN5 directly targets the promoters of TaGLU-1 genes in wheat endosperm. We find that TaGAMyb physically interacts with the wheat histone acetyltransferase TaGCN5 and also interacts with Arabidopsis thaliana AtGCN5. TaGAMyb ectopically expressed in Arabidopsis binds to the TaGLU-1Dy promoter on a TaGLU-1Dy transgene and activates its expression. AtGCN5 also targets the TaGLU-1Dy transgene and is involved in the establishment of acetylation at H3K9 and H3K14. These results demonstrate that TaGAMyb plays a dual role in activating expression of glutenin gene by directly binding to the TaGLU promoter and by recruiting GCN5 to modulate histone acetylation during wheat endosperm development.