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Plant Cell. 2001 Aug;13(8):1719-34.

KNAT2: evidence for a link between knotted-like genes and carpel development.

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Laboratoire de Biologie Cellulaire, Institut de la Recherche Agronomique, Route de St. Cyr, 78026 Versailles Cedex, France.


The KNAT2 (for KNOTTED-like from Arabidopsis thaliana 2) homeobox gene is expressed in the vegetative apical meristem. It is also active during flower development, suggesting a function in the structuring of flowers. To investigate its role, we used a DEXAMETHASONE (DEX)-inducible system to generate transgenic plants that overexpressed a fusion of KNAT2 with the hormone binding domain of the glucocorticoid receptor. DEX-induced plants were similar to plants overexpressing the closely related KNAT1 gene, indicating overlapping functions, although we observed differences as well. In particular, KNAT2-GR activation induced ectopic carpel features. First, KNAT2 induced the homeotic conversion of nucellus into carpel-like structures. Second, KNAT2 induced stigmatic papillae on rosette leaves in the ap2-5 background. Third, ectopic expression of the carpel identity gene AGAMOUS (AG) was observed in carpels and ovules. Interestingly, the homeotic conversion was not dependent on AG activity, because it was maintained in the ag-1 ap2-5 double mutant. Therefore, our data indicate that KNAT2 also must activate other carpel regulators. Together, these results suggest that KNAT2 plays a role in carpel development.

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