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Plant J. 2005 Aug;43(4):586-96.

A new role of the Arabidopsis SEPALLATA3 gene revealed by its constitutive expression.

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Dpto. Genética Molecular, Laboratori de Genètica Molecular Vegetal, CSIC-IRTA. IBMB-CSIC C/Jordi Girona, 18-26, 08034 Barcelona, Spain.


During Arabidopsis flower development a set of homeotic genes plays a central role in specifying the distinct floral organs of the four whorls, sepals in the outermost whorl, and petals, stamens, and carpels in the sequentially inner whorls. The current model for the identity of the floral organs includes the SEPALLATA genes that act in combination with the A, B and C genes for the specification of sepals, petals, stamens and carpels. According to this new model, the floral organ identity proteins would form different complexes of proteins for the activation of the downstream genes. We show that the presence of SEPALLATA proteins is needed to activate the AG downstream gene SHATTERPROOF2, and that SEPALLATA4 alone does not provide with enough SEPALLATA activity for the complex to be functional. Our results suggest that CAULIFLOWER may be part of the protein complex responsible for petal development and that it is fully required in the absence of APETALA1 in 35S::SEP3 plants. In addition, genetic and molecular experiments using plants constitutively expressing SEPALLATA3 revealed a new role of SEPALLATA3 in activating other B and C function genes. We molecularly prove that the ectopic expression of SEPALLATA3 is sufficient to ectopically activate APETALA3 and AGAMOUS. Remarkably, plants that constitutively express both SEPALLATA3 and LEAFY developed ectopic petals, carpels and ovules outside of the floral context.

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