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Planta. 2005 Mar;220(5):645-57. Epub 2004 Nov 12.

Molecular analysis of the CRINKLY4 gene family in Arabidopsis thaliana.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA.


The maize (Zea mays L.) CRINKLY4 (CR4) gene encodes a serine/threonine receptor-like kinase that controls an array of developmental processes in the plant and endosperm. The Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh. genome encodes an ortholog of CR4, ACR4, and four CRINKLY4-RELATED (CRR) proteins: AtCRR1, AtCRR2, AtCRR3 and AtCRK1. The available genome sequence of rice (Oryza sativa L.) encodes a CR4 ortholog, OsCR4, and four CRR proteins: OsCRR1, OsCRR2, OsCRR3 and OsCRR4, not necessarily orthologous to the Arabidopsis CRRs. A phylogenetic study showed that AtCRR1 and AtCRR2 form a clade closest to the CR4 group while all the other CRRs form a separate cluster. The five Arabidopsis genes are differentially expressed in various tissues. A construct formed by fusion of the ACR4 promoter and the GUS reporter, ACR4::GUS, is expressed primarily in developing tissues of the shoot. The ACR4 cytoplasmic domain functions in vitro as a serine/threonine kinase, while the AtCRR1 and AtCRR2 kinases are not active. The ability of ACR4 to phosphorylate AtCRR2 suggests that they might function in the same signal transduction pathway. T-DNA insertions were obtained in ACR4, AtCRR1, AtCRR2, AtCRR3 and AtCRK1. Mutations in acr4 show a phenotype restricted to the integuments and seed coat, suggesting that Arabidopsis might contain a redundant function that is lacking in maize. The lack of obvious mutant phenotypes in the crr mutants indicates they are not required for the hypothetical redundant function.

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