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Proc Biol Sci. 2004 Feb 7;271(1536):311-6.

The phenotype of Arabidopsis ovule mutants mimics the morphology of primitive seed plants.

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Department of Botany, University of Florida, Gainesville 32611-8526, USA.


In seed plants, the ovule is the female reproductive structure, which surrounds and nourishes the gametophyte and embryo. This investigation describes the PRETTY FEW SEEDS2 (PFS2) locus, which regulates ovule patterning. The pfs2 mutant exhibited developmental defects in the maternal integuments and gametophyte. This mutation was inherited as a maternal trait, indicating that gametophyte defects resulted from ovule patterning aberrations. Specifically, the boundary between the chalaza and the nucellus, two regions of the ovule primordia, shifted towards the distal end of pfs2 ovule primordia. Results indicated that the PFS2 locus could: (i) be involved in the development of either the nucellus or the chalaza; or (ii) establish a boundary between these two regions. Examination of genetic interactions of the pfs2 mutation with other well-characterized ovule loci indicates that this locus affects integument morphogenesis. Interestingly, the pfs2 inner no outer and pfs2 strubbelig double mutants had inner integuments that appeared similar to their ancestral precursor. The fossil record indicates that the inner integument evolved by fusion of sterilized sporangia or branches around a central megasporangium. The question of whether the structures observed in these double mutants are homologous or merely analogous to the ancestral precursors of the inner integument is discussed.

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