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Plant Cell. Jun 1996; 8(6): 971–983.
PMCID: PMC161152

The Miniature1 Seed Locus of Maize Encodes a Cell Wall Invertase Required for Normal Development of Endosperm and Maternal Cells in the Pedicel.


Collective evidence demonstrates that the Miniature1 (Mn1) seed locus in maize encodes an endosperm-specific isozyme of cell wall Invertase, CWI-2. The evidence includes (1) isolation and characterization of ethyl methanesulfonate-induced mn1 mutants with altered enzyme activity and (2) a near-linear relationship between gene/dose and invertase activity and the CWI-2 protein. In addition, molecular analyses showed that the cDNA clone incw2 maps to the Mn1 locus and differentiates the six ethyl methanesulfonate-induced mn1 mutants of independent origin into two classes when RNA gel blot analyses were used. We also report two unexpected observations that provide significant new insight into the physiological role of invertase and its regulation in a developing seed. First, a large proportion of total enzyme activity (~90%) was dispensable (i.e., nonlimiting). However, below the threshold level of ~6% of wild-type activity, the endosperm enzyme controlled both the sink strength of the developing endosperm as well as the developmental stability of maternal cells in the pedicel in a rate-limiting manner. Our data also suggest an unusually tight coordinate control between the cell wall-bound and the soluble forms of invertase, which are most likely encoded by two separate genes, presumably through metabolic controls mediated by the sugars.

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Selected References

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