@Article{IPB-280, author = {Manh, M. B. and Ost, C. and Peiter, E. and Hause, B. and Krupinska, K. and Humbeck, K.}, title = {{WHIRLY1 acts upstream of ABA-related reprogramming of drought-induced gene expression in Barley and affects stress-related histone modifications}}, year = {2023}, pages = {6326}, journal = {Int. J. Mol. Sci.}, doi = {10.3390/ijms24076326}, url = {https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms24076326}, volume = {24}, abstract = {WHIRLY1, a small plant-specific ssDNA-binding protein, dually located in chloroplasts and the nucleus, is discussed to act as a retrograde signal transmitting a stress signal from the chloroplast to the nucleus and triggering there a stress-related gene expression. In this work, we investigated the function of WHIRLY1 in the drought stress response of barley, employing two overexpression lines (oeW1-2 and oeW1-15). The overexpression of WHIRLY1 delayed the drought-stress-related onset of senescence in primary leaves. Two abscisic acid (ABA)-dependent marker genes of drought stress, HvNCED1 and HvS40, whose expression in the wild type was induced during drought treatment, were not induced in overexpression lines. In addition, a drought-related increase in ABA concentration in the leaves was suppressed in WHIRLY1 overexpression lines. To analyze the impact of the gain-of-function of WHIRLY1 on the drought-related reprogramming of nuclear gene expression, RNAseq was performed comparing the wild type and an overexpression line. Cluster analyses revealed a set of genes highly up-regulated in response to drought in the wild type but not in the WHIRLY1 overexpression lines. Among these genes were many stress- and abscisic acid (ABA)-related ones. Another cluster comprised genes up-regulated in the oeW1 lines compared to the wild type. These were related to primary metabolism, chloroplast function and growth. Our results indicate that WHIRLY1 acts as a hub, balancing trade-off between stress-related and developmental pathways. To test whether the gain-of-function of WHIRLY1 affects the epigenetic control of stress-related gene expression, we analyzed drought-related histone modifications in different regions of the promoter and at the transcriptional start sites of HvNCED1 and HvS40. Interestingly, the level of euchromatic marks (H3K4me3 and H3K9ac) was clearly decreased in both genes in a WHIRLY1 overexpression line. Our results indicate that WHIRLY1, which is discussed to act as a retrograde signal, affects the ABA-related reprogramming of nuclear gene expression during drought via differential histone modifications.} }