A dominant mutation in BETA-AMYLASE1 disrupts nighttime control of starch degradation in Arabidopsis leaves.

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Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) leaves possess a mechanism that couples the rate of night-time starch degradation to the anticipated time of dawn, thus preventing premature exhaustion of starch and night-time starvation. To shed light on the mechanism, we screened a mutagenized population of a starvation reporter line and isolated a mutant that starved prior to dawn. The mutant had accelerated starch degradation, and the rate was not adjusted to time of dawn. The mutation responsible led to a single amino acid change (S132N) in the starch degradation enzyme BETA-AMYLASE1 (BAM1, mutant allele named bam1-2D), resulting in a dominant, gain-of-function phenotype. Complete loss of BETA-AMYLASE1 (in bam1-1) did not affect rates of starch degradation, while expression of BAM1(S132N) in bam1-1 recapitulated the accelerated starch degradation phenotype of bam1-2D. In vitro analysis of recombinant BAM1 and BAM1(S132N) proteins revealed no differences in kinetic or stability properties, but in leaf extracts BAM1(S132N) apparently had a higher affinity than BAM1 for an established binding partner required for normal rates of starch degradation, LIKE SEX FOUR1 (LSF1). Genetic approaches showed that BAM1(S132N) itself is likely responsible for accelerated starch degradation in bam1-2D and that this activity requires LSF1. Analysis of plants expressing BAM1 with alanine or aspartate rather than serine at position 132 indicated that the gain-of-function phenotype is not related to phosphorylation status at this position. Our results strengthen the view that control of starch degradation in wild-type plants involves dynamic physical interactions of degradative enzymes and related proteins with a central role for complexes containing LSF1.