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Mol Biol Cell. 2002 Jun;13(6):1916-28.

Null mutation of AtCUL1 causes arrest in early embryogenesis in Arabidopsis.

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  • 1Institut de Biologie Moléculaire des Plantes du CNRS, 67084 Strasbourg, France.


The SCF (for SKP1, Cullin/CDC53, F-box protein) ubiquitin ligase targets a number of cell cycle regulators, transcription factors, and other proteins for degradation in yeast and mammalian cells. Recent genetic studies demonstrate that plant F-box proteins are involved in auxin responses, jasmonate signaling, flower morphogenesis, photocontrol of circadian clocks, and leaf senescence, implying a large spectrum of functions for the SCF pathway in plant development. Here, we present a molecular and functional characterization of plant cullins. The Arabidopsis genome contains 11 cullin-related genes. Complementation assays revealed that AtCUL1 but not AtCUL4 can functionally complement the yeast cdc53 mutant. Arabidopsis mutants containing transfer DNA (T-DNA) insertions in the AtCUL1 gene were shown to display an arrest in early embryogenesis. Consistently, both the transcript and the protein of the AtCUL1 gene were found to accumulate in embryos. The AtCUL1 protein localized mainly in the nucleus but also weakly in the cytoplasm during interphase and colocalized with the mitotic spindle in metaphase. Our results demonstrate a critical role for the SCF ubiquitin ligase in Arabidopsis embryogenesis.

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