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Plant Physiol. 2008 Mar;146(3):1305-21. doi: 10.1104/pp.107.110908. Epub 2008 Jan 11.

Stamen abscission zone transcriptome profiling reveals new candidates for abscission control: enhanced retention of floral organs in transgenic plants overexpressing Arabidopsis ZINC FINGER PROTEIN2.

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  • 1Department of Horticulture, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011-1100, USA.


Organ detachment requires cell separation within abscission zones (AZs). Physiological studies have established that ethylene and auxin contribute to cell separation control. Genetic analyses of abscission mutants have defined ethylene-independent detachment regulators. Functional genomic strategies leading to global understandings of abscission have awaited methods for isolating AZ cells of low abundance and very small size. Here, we couple laser capture microdissection of Arabidopsis thaliana stamen AZs and GeneChip profiling to reveal the AZ transcriptome responding to a developmental shedding cue. Analyses focus on 551 AZ genes (AZ(551)) regulated at the highest statistical significance (P < or = 0.0001) over five floral stages linking prepollination to stamen shed. AZ(551) includes mediators of ethylene and auxin signaling as well as receptor-like kinases and extracellular ligands thought to act independent of ethylene. We hypothesized that novel abscission regulators might reside in disproportionately represented Gene Ontology Consortium functional categories for cell wall modifying proteins, extracellular regulators, and nuclear-residing transcription factors. Promoter-beta-glucuronidase expression of one transcription factor candidate, ZINC FINGER PROTEIN2 (AtZFP2), was elevated in stamen, petal, and sepal AZs. Flower parts of transgenic lines overexpressing AtZFP2 exhibited asynchronous and delayed abscission. Abscission defects were accompanied by altered floral morphology limiting pollination and fertility. Hand-pollination restored transgenic fruit development but not the rapid abscission seen in wild-type plants, demonstrating that pollination does not assure normal rates of detachment. In wild-type stamen AZs, AtZFP2 is significantly up-regulated postanthesis. Phenotype data from transgene overexpression studies suggest that AtZFP2 participates in processes that directly or indirectly influence organ shed.

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