Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Postharvest Science of Fruits and Vegetables/Engineering Research Center of Southern Horticultural Products Preservation, Ministry of Education, College of Horticulture, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou, 510642, People's Republic of China. [Email]
Transcriptional regulation is an essential molecular machinery in controlling gene expression in diverse plant developmental processes including fruit ripening. This involves the interaction of transcription factors (TFs) and promoters of target genes. In banana, although a number of fruit ripening-associated TFs have been characterized, their number is relatively small. Here we identified a nuclear-localized basic leucine zipper (bZIP) TF, MabZIP93, associated with banana ripening. MabZIP93 activated cell wall modifying genes MaPL2, MaPE1, MaXTH23 and MaXGT1 by directly binding to their promoters. Transient over-expression of MabZIP93 in banana fruit resulted in the increased expression of MaPL2, MaPE1, MaXTH23 and MaXGT1. Moreover, a mitogen-activated protein kinase MaMPK2 and MabZIP93 were found to interact with MabZIP93. The interaction of MabZIP93 with MaMPK2 enhanced MabZIP93 activation of cell wall modifying genes, which was likely due to the phosphorylation of MabZIP93 mediated by MaMPK2. Overall, this study shows that MaMPK2 interacts with and phosphorylates MabZIP93 to promote MabZIP93-mediated transcriptional activation of cell wall modifying genes, thereby expanding our understanding of gene networks associated with banana fruit ripening.