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Plant Cell. 1995 Jan;7(1):75-84.

Cloning and characterization of the maize An1 gene.

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  • 1Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., Johnston, Iowa 50131.


The Anther ear1 (An1) gene product is involved in the synthesis of ent-kaurene, the first tetracyclic intermediate in the gibberellin (GA) biosynthetic pathway. Mutations causing the loss of An1 function result in a GA-responsive phenotype that includes reduced plant height, delayed maturity, and development of perfect flowers on normally pistillate ears. The an1::Mu2-891339 allele was recovered from a Mutator (Mu) F2 family. Using Mu elements as molecular probes, an An1-containing restriction fragment was identified and cloned. The identity of the cloned gene as An1 was confirmed by using a reverse genetics screen for maize families that contain a Mu element inserted into the cloned gene and then by demonstrating that the insertion causes an an1 phenotype. The predicted amino acid sequence of the An1 cDNA shares homology with plant cyclases and contains a basic N-terminal sequence that may target the An1 gene product to the chloroplast. The sequence is consistent with the predicted subcellular localization of AN1 in the chloroplast and with its biochemical role in the cyclization of geranylgeranyl pyrophosphate, a 20-carbon isoprenoid, to ent-kaurene. The semidwarfed stature of an1 mutants is in contrast with the more severely dwarfed stature of GA-responsive mutants at other loci in maize and may be caused by redundancy in this step of the GA biosynthetic pathway. DNA gel blot analysis indicated that An1 is a single-copy gene that lies entirely within the deletion of the an1-bz2-6923 mutant. However, homozygous deletion mutants accumulated ent-kaurene to 20% of the wild-type level, suggesting that the function of An1 is supplemented by an additional activity.

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