Key messageThe histone chaperone FACT is involved in the expression of genes encoding anthocyanin biosynthetic enzymes also upon induction by moderate high-light and therefore contributes to the stress-induced plant pigmentation.AbstractThe histone chaperone FACT consists of the SSRP1 and SPT16 proteins and associates with transcribing RNAPII (RNAPII) along the transcribed region of genes. FACT can promote transcriptional elongation by destabilising nucleosomes in the path of RNA polymerase II, thereby facilitating efficient transcription of chromatin templates. Transcript profiling of Arabidopsis plants depleted in SSRP1 or SPT16 demonstrates that only a small subset of genes is differentially expressed relative to wild type. The majority of these genes is either up- or down-regulated in both the ssrp1 and spt16 plants. Among the down-regulated genes, those encoding enzymes of the biosynthetic pathway of the plant secondary metabolites termed anthocyanins (but not regulators of the pathway) are overrepresented. Upon exposure to moderate high-light stress several of these genes are up-regulated to a lesser extent in ssrp1/spt16 compared to wild type plants, and accordingly the mutant plants accumulate lower amounts of anthocyanin pigments. Moreover, the expression of SSRP1 and SPT16 is induced under these conditions. Therefore, our findings indicate that FACT is a novel factor required for the accumulation of anthocyanins in response to light-induction.