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Plant J. 2002 Feb;29(4):497-507.

Position dependent expression of GL2-type homeobox gene, Roc1: significance for protoderm differentiation and radial pattern formation in early rice embryogenesis.

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BioScience Center, Nagoya University, Chikusa, Nagoya 464-8601, Japan.


In early plant embryogenesis, the determination of cell fate in the protodermal cell layer is considered to be the earliest event in radial pattern formation. To elucidate the mechanisms of epidermal cell fate determination and radial pattern formation in early rice embryogenesis, we have isolated a GL2-type homeobox gene Roc1 (Rice outermost cell-specific gene1), which is specifically expressed in the protoderm (epidermis). In early rice embryogenesis, cell division occurs randomly and the morphologically distinct layer structure of the protoderm cannot be observed until the embryo reaches more than 100 microm in length. Nonetheless, in situ hybridization analyses revealed that specific expression of Roc1 in the outermost cells is established shortly after fertilization, much earlier than protoderm differentiation. In the regeneration process from callus, the Roc1 gene is also expressed in the outermost cells of callus in advance of tissue and organ differentiation, and occurs independently of whether the cells will differentiate into epidermis in the future or not. Furthermore, this cell-specific Roc1 expression could be induced flexibly in the newly produced outermost cells when we cut the callus. These findings suggest that the expression of Roc1 in the outermost cells may be dependent on the positional information of cells in the embryo or callus prior to the cell fate determination of the protoderm (epidermis). Furthermore, the Roc1 expression is downregulated in the inner cells of ligule, which have previously been determined as protodermal cells, also suggesting that the Roc1 expression is position dependent and that this position dependent Roc1 expression is important also in post-embryonic protoderm (epidermis) differentiation.

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