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Plant Cell. 1992 Mar;4(3):297-305.

The Maize Invertase-Deficient miniature-1 Seed Mutation Is Associated with Aberrant Pedicel and Endosperm Development.

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  • 1Department of Agronomy, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611.


Genetic evidence is presented to show that the developmental stability of maternal cells in the pedicel at the base of maize seeds is determined by the genotype of the developing endosperm. An early degeneration and withdrawal of maternal cells from the endosperm of homozygous miniature (mn mn) seed mutants were arrested if mn plants were pollinated by the wild-type Mn pollen. Similarly, the stability of the wild-type, Mn mn, maternal cells was also dependent on whether or not these cells were associated with the normal (Mn) or the mutant (mn) endosperm on the same ear. Biochemical and cellular analyses indicated that developing mn kernels have extremely low (<0.5% of the wild type) to undetectable levels of both soluble and wall-bound invertase activities. Extracts from endosperm with a single copy of the Mn gene showed a significant increase in both forms of invertases, and we suggest it is the causal basis of the wild-type seed phenotype. Collectively, these data provide evidence that invertase-mediated maintenance of a physiological gradient of photosynthate between pedicel and endosperm constitutes the rate-limiting step in structural stability of maternal cells as well as normal development of endosperm and seed.

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