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Plants 2015, 4(3), 412-448; doi:10.3390/plants4030412

NAC Transcription Factors in Senescence: From Molecular Structure to Function in Crops

1
Department of Genetics and Biotechnology, Aarhus University, Forsøgsvej 1, Slagelse DK-4200, Denmark
2
Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen, 5 Ole Maaloesvej, Copenhagen DK-2200, Denmark
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Salma Balazadeh
Received: 3 June 2015 / Revised: 26 June 2015 / Accepted: 2 July 2015 / Published: 13 July 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Senescence)
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Abstract

Within the last decade, NAC transcription factors have been shown to play essential roles in senescence, which is the focus of this review. Transcriptome analyses associate approximately one third of Arabidopsis NAC genes and many crop NAC genes with senescence, thereby implicating NAC genes as important regulators of the senescence process. The consensus DNA binding site of the NAC domain is used to predict NAC target genes, and protein interaction sites can be predicted for the intrinsically disordered transcription regulatory domains of NAC proteins. The molecular characteristics of these domains determine the interactions in gene regulatory networks. Emerging local NAC-centered gene regulatory networks reveal complex molecular mechanisms of stress- and hormone-regulated senescence and basic physiological steps of the senescence process. For example, through molecular interactions involving the hormone abscisic acid, Arabidopsis NAP promotes chlorophyll degradation, a hallmark of senescence. Furthermore, studies of the functional rice ortholog, OsNAP, suggest that NAC genes can be targeted to obtain specific changes in lifespan control and nutrient remobilization in crop plants. This is also exemplified by the wheat NAM1 genes which promote senescence and increase grain zinc, iron, and protein content. Thus, NAC genes are promising targets for fine-tuning senescence for increased yield and quality. View Full-Text
Keywords: NAC transcription factor; domain structure; senescence; abiotic stress; gene regulatory network; crop breeding NAC transcription factor; domain structure; senescence; abiotic stress; gene regulatory network; crop breeding
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Podzimska-Sroka, D.; O'Shea, C.; Gregersen, P.L.; Skriver, K. NAC Transcription Factors in Senescence: From Molecular Structure to Function in Crops. Plants 2015, 4, 412-448.

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