The secondary cell walls of xylem cells, including vessel elements, provide mechanical strength and contribute to the conduction of water and minerals. VASCULAR-RELATED NAC-DOMAIN7 (VND7) is a NAC-domain transcription factor that regulates the expression of genes required for xylem vessel element formation. Transient expression assays using 68 transcription factors that are expressed during xylem vessel differentiation showed that 14 transcription factors, including VND1-VND7, are putative positive regulators of VND7 expression. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays revealed that all seven VND proteins bound to the VND7 promoter region at its SMBE/TERE motif, indicating that VND7 is a direct target of all of the VND transcription factors. Overexpression of VND1-VND5, GATA12 and ANAC075, newly identified transcription factors that function upstream of VND7, resulted in ectopic xylem vessel element formation. These data suggest that VND7 transcription is a regulatory target of multiple classes of transcription factors.
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