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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America


Department of Biological Sciences


Cytokinins are plant hormones that play critical roles in growth and development. In Arabidopsis, the transcriptional response to cytokinin is regulated by action of type-B Arabidopsis response regulators (ARRs). Although central elements in the cytokinin signal transduction pathway have been identified, mechanisms controlling output remain to be elucidated. Here we demonstrate that a family of F-box proteins, called the kiss me deadly (KMD) family, targets type-B ARR proteins for degradation. KMD proteins form an S-phase kinase-associated PROTEIN1 (SKP1)/Cullin/F-box protein (SCF) E3 ubiquitin ligase complex and directly interact with type-B ARR proteins. Loss-of-function KMD mutants stabilize type-B ARRs and exhibit an enhanced cytokinin response. In contrast, plants with elevated KMD expression destabilize type-B ARR proteins leading to cytokinin insensitivity. Our results support a model in which an SCF(KMD) complex negatively regulates cytokinin responses by controlling levels of a key family of transcription factors.