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Genes Dev. 1995 Oct 15;9(20):2459-69.

Integrated control of seed maturation and germination programs by activator and repressor functions of Viviparous-1 of maize.

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  • 1Department of Horticultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville 32611, USA.


The Viviparous-1 (VP1) transcriptional activator of maize is required for abscisic acid induction of maturation-specific genes late in seed development leading to acquisition of desiccation tolerance and arrest in embryo growth. Here, we show that VP1 also inhibits induction of the germination-specific alpha-amylase genes in aleurone cells of the developing seed and thereby appears to be involved in preventing precocious hydrolyzation of storage compounds accumulating in the endosperm. In developing seeds of the somatically instable vp1-m2 mutant, hydrolase activity was derepressed specifically in endosperm sectors underlying vp1 mutant aleurone. A barley alpha-amylase promoter-GUS reporter construct (Amy-GUS) was induced in developing vp1 mutant aleurone cells but not in wild-type aleurone cells. Moreover, transient expression of recombinant VP1 and vp1 mutant aleurone cells strongly inhibited expression of Amy-GUS and thus effectively complemented this aspect of the mutant phenotype. VP1 specifically repressed induction of Amy-GUS by the hormone gibberellic acid in aleurone of germinating barley seeds. Deletion of the acidic transcriptional activation domain of VP1 did not affect the inhibitory activity, indicating that VP1 has a discrete repressor function. Hence, physically combining activator and repressor functions in one protein may provide a mechanism to integrate the control of two normally consecutive developmental programs, seed maturation and seed germination.

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