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Plant Cell. 1999 Oct;11(10):1883-96.

An Arabidopsis cell cycle -dependent kinase-related gene, CDC2b, plays a role in regulating seedling growth in darkness.

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Laboratory for Photoperception and Signal Transduction, Frontier Research Program, Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN) 2-1, Hirosawa, Wako-shi, Saitama 351-0198, Japan.


The Arabidopsis CDC2b gene has been defined as a plant-specific cell cycle-dependent kinase-related gene, although it lacks the conserved cyclin binding motif, and its exact function is not known. Here, we report that in etiolated seedlings, the expression of the CDC2b gene is correlated with elongation rate of the hypocotyl. Inhibition of CDC2b gene expression by using an inducible antisense construct resulted in short-hypocotyl and open-cotyledon phenotypes when transgenic seedlings were grown in the dark. The severity of these phenotypes in dark-grown seedlings could be correlated with the level of the antisense gene expression. The short hypocotyl of seedlings underexpressing CDC2b was a result of inhibition of cell elongation rather than a reduction in cell number, whereas in cotyledons, inhibition of CDC2b expression resulted in large, open cotyledons with amyloplasts rather than etioplasts. Although the nuclear DNA was less compact in the antisense hypocotyl cells, DNA content and endoreduplication were not affected. Cell division of the shoot apical meristem also was not affected by antisense expression. The short-hypocotyl phenotype of these transgenic plants was partially rescued by the addition of brassinolide. Brassinolide can only induce CDC2b expression in darkness. These results suggest a role for the CDC2b gene in seedling growth via regulation of hypocotyl cell elongation and cotyledon cell development.

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