Jasmonates (JAs) regulate Arabidopsis thaliana wound and defence responses, pollen development, and stress-related growth inhibition. Significantly, each of these responses requires COI1, an F-box protein. Other F-box proteins interact with SKP1 and cullin proteins to form SCF complexes that selectively recruit regulatory proteins targeted for ubiquitination. To determine whether COI1 also functions in an SCF complex, we have characterized Arabidopsis proteins that bind to COI1. An Arabidopsis cDNA expression library was screened in yeast for clones that produce proteins which can bind to COI1. We recovered two SKP1 homologues and a histone deacetylase. The Arabidopsis F-box protein TIR1 interacted with SKP1 proteins, but not with the histone deacetylase. Mutant COI1 proteins revealed that the F-box is required for interaction with SKP1s, but that sequences in leucine-rich repeat domains are required for interaction with the histone deacetylase. Epitope-tagged COI1 was introduced into Arabidopsis plants and cell cultures. Co-immunoprecipitation experiments confirmed the interaction in planta of COI1 with SKP1-like proteins and histone deacetylase, and also indicated that COI1 interacted with cullin. These results suggest that COI1 forms an SCFCOI1 complex in vivo. COI1 is therefore expected to form a functional E3-type ubiquitin ligase in plants and to regulate expression of jasmonate responsive genes, possibly by targeted ubiquitination of a histone deacetylase.
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