Transcription factors play key roles in plant development through their interaction with cis-elements and/or other transcription factors. A HD-Zip IV family transcription factor, Gossypium barbadense Meristem Layer 1 (GbML1) has been identified and characterized here. GbML1 specifically bound to the L1 box and the promoters of GbML1 and GbRDL1. GbML1 physically interacted with a key regulator of cotton fibre development, GbMYB25. Truncated and point mutation assays indicated the START–SAD domain was required for the binding to the C terminal domain (CTD) of GbMYB25. GbML1 overexpression in Arabidopsis increased the number of trichomes on stems and leaves and increased the accumulation of anthocyanin in leaves. Taken together, the L1 box binding protein, GbML1 was identified as the first partner for GbMYB25 and the role of START domain was discovered to be a protein binding domain in plants. Our findings will help the improvement of cotton fibre production and the understanding of the key role of HD-Zip family and MYB family in plants
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