Biochemistry, Department of


Date of this Version



The Plant Cell, Vol. 26: 1666–1680, April 2014


Copyright 2014 American Society of Plant Biologists. All rights reserved.


The aerial parts of plants are protected from desiccation and other stress by surface cuticular waxes. The total cuticular wax loads and the expression of wax biosynthetic genes are significantly downregulated in Arabidopsis thaliana under dark conditions. We isolated Decrease Wax Biosynthesis (DEWAX), which encodes an AP2/ERF-type transcription factor that is preferentially expressed in the epidermis and induced by darkness. Disruption of DEWAX leads to an increase in total leaf and stem wax loads, and the excess wax phenotype of dewax was restored to wild type levels in complementation lines. Moreover, overexpression of DEWAX resulted in a reduction in total wax loads in leaves and stems compared with the wild type and altered the ultrastructure of cuticular layers. DEWAX negatively regulates the expression of alkane-forming enzyme, long-chain acyl-CoA synthetase, ATP citrate lyase A subunit, enoyl-CoA reductase, and fatty acyl-CoA reductase, and chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis suggested that DEWAX directly interacts with the promoters of wax biosynthesis genes. Cuticular wax biosynthesis is negatively regulated twice a day by the expression of DEWAX, throughout the night and at stomata closing. Significantly higher levels (10- to 100-fold) of DEWAX transcripts were found in leaves than in stems, suggesting that DEWAX-mediated transcriptional repression may be an additional mechanism contributing to the different total wax loads in leaves and stems.