BACKGROUND: In the Arabidopsis 26S proteasome mutant rpn12a-1, an exon-trap T-DNA is inserted 531 base pairs downstream of the RPN12a STOP codon. We have previously shown that this insertion activates a STOP codon-associated latent 5' splice site that competes with the polyadenylation signal during processing of the pre-mRNA. As a result of this dual input from splicing and polyadenylation in the rpn12a-1 mutant, two RPN12a transcripts are produced and they encode the wild-type RPN12a and a chimeric RPN12a-NPTII protein. Both proteins form complexes with other proteasome subunits leading to the formation of wild-type and mutant proteasome versions. The net result of this heterogeneity of proteasome particles is a reduction of total cellular proteasome activity. One of the consequences of reduced proteasomal activity is decreased sensitivity to the major plant hormone cytokinin.

METHODS: We performed ethyl methanesulfonate mutagenesis of rpn12a-1 and isolated revertants with wild-type cytokinin sensitivity.

RESULTS: We describe the isolation and analyses of suppressor of rpn12a-1 ( sor1). The sor1 mutation is intragenic and located at the fifth position of the chimeric intron. This mutation weakens the activated 5' splice site associated with the STOP codon and tilts the processing of the RPN12a mRNA back towards polyadenylation.

CONCLUSIONS: These results validate our earlier interpretation of the unusual nature of the rpn12a-1 mutation. Furthermore, the data show that optimal 26S proteasome activity requires RPN12a accumulation beyond a critical threshold. Finally, this finding reinforces our previous conclusion that proteasome function is critical for the cytokinin-dependent regulation of plant growth.

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Published in F1000Research, v. 2, no. 60, p. 1-11.

© 2013 Kurepa J et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Data associated with the article are available under the terms of the Creative Commons Zero "No rights reserved" data waiver (CC0 1.0 Public domain dedication).

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