Tudor-SN protein accumulates in stress granules in response to salt stress in Arabidopsis. It binds GA20ox3 mRNA in vivo and up-regulates GA20ox3 levels to maintain plant growth under salt stress.
The Tudor-SN protein (TSN) is universally expressed and highly conserved in eukaryotes. In Arabidopsis, TSN is reportedly involved in stress adaptation, but the mechanism involved in this adaptation is not understood. Here, we provide evidence that TSN regulates the mRNA levels of GA20ox3, a key enzyme for gibberellin (GA) biosynthesis. The levels of GA20ox3 transcripts decreased in TSN1/ TSN2 RNA interference (RNAi) transgenic lines and increased in TSN1 over-expression (OE) transgenic lines. The TSN1 OE lines displayed phenotypes that may be attributed to the overproduction of GA. No obvious defects were observed in the RNAi transgenic lines under normal conditions, but under salt stress conditions these lines displayed slower growth than wild-type (WT) plants. Two mutants of GA20ox3, ga20ox3-1 and -2, also showed slower growth under stress than WT plants. Moreover, a higher accumulation of GA20ox3 transcripts was observed under salt stress. The results of a western blot analysis indicated that higher levels of TSN1 accumulated after salt treatment than under normal conditions. Subcellular localization studies showed that TSN1 was uniformly distributed in the cytoplasm under normal conditions but accumulated in small granules and co-localized with RBP47, a marker protein for stress granules (SGs), in response to salt stress. The results of RNA immunoprecipitation experiments indicated that TSN1 bound GA20ox3 mRNA in vivo. On the basis of these findings, we conclude that TSN is a novel component of plant SGs that regulates growth under salt stress by modulating levels of GA20ox3 mRNA.