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Plant J. 2004 Mar;37(5):668-77.

DVL, a novel class of small polypeptides: overexpression alters Arabidopsis development.

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Division of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211-7400, USA.


Small polypeptides can act as important regulatory molecules that coordinate cellular responses required for differentiation, growth, and development. In a gain-of-function genetic screen for genes that influence fruit development in Arabidopsis, we identified a novel gene -DEVIL1 (DVL1) - encoding a small protein. Overexpression of DVL1 results in pleiotropic phenotypes featured by shortened stature, rounder rosette leaves, clustered inflorescences, shortened pedicles, and siliques with pronged tips. cDNA analysis indicates that DVL1 has a 153-nucleotide (nt) open-reading frame (ORF) encoding a 51-amino acid polypeptide that shares no significant similarity to previously identified proteins. Sequence alignment shows that DVL1 belongs to a family of related genes that are limited to angiosperm plants. Ectopic overexpression of each of the five closely related Arabidopsis DVL genes causes similar phenotypic changes, suggesting overlapping function in the DVL gene family. Point mutations of conserved amino acids in the C-terminal region of the DVL1 polypeptide reveal that these conserved residues are required for DVL1-overexpression phenotypes. Our results show that the DVL family is a novel class of small polypeptides and the overexpression phenotypes suggest that these polypeptides may have a role in plant development.

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