Animal and yeast nucleolin function as global regulators of ribosome synthesis, and their expression is tightly linked to cell proliferation. Although Arabidopsis contains two genes for nucleolin, AtNuc-L1 is the predominant if not only form of the protein found in most tissues, and GFP-AtNuc-L1 fusion proteins were targeted to the nucleolus. Expression of AtNuc-L1 was strongly induced by sucrose or glucose but not by non-metabolizable mannitol or 2-deoxyglucose. Sucrose also caused enhanced expression of genes for subunits of C/D and H/ACA small nucleolar ribonucleoproteins, as well as a large number of genes for ribosomal proteins (RPs), suggesting that carbohydrate availability regulates de novo ribosome synthesis. In sugar-starved cells, induction of AtNuc-L1 occurred with 10 mm glucose, which seemed to be a prerequisite for resumption of growth. Disruption of AtNuc-L1 caused an increased steady-state level of pre-rRNA relative to mature 25S rRNA, and resulted in various phenotypes that overlap those reported for several RP gene mutants, including a reduced growth rate, prolonged lifetime, bushy growth, pointed leaf, and defective vascular patterns and pod development. These results suggest that the rate of ribosome synthesis in the meristem has a strong impact not only on the growth but also the structure of plants. The AtNuc-L1 disruptant exhibited significantly reduced sugar-induced expression of RP genes, suggesting that AtNuc-L1 is involved in the sugar-inducible expression of RP genes.
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