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Plant Physiol Biochem. 2008 Dec;46(12):1051-61. doi: 10.1016/j.plaphy.2008.07.003. Epub 2008 Jul 19.

AtERF38 (At2g35700), an AP2/ERF family transcription factor gene from Arabidopsis thaliana, is expressed in specific cell types of roots, stems and seeds that undergo suberization.

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Laboratoire Génome et Dévelopement des Plantes, Université de Perpignan, CNRS, IRD; 52 avenue P. Alduy 66860 Perpignan, France.


An inverse genetic approach was used to gain insight into the role of AP2/ERF-type transcription factors genes during plant development in Arabidopsis thaliana. Here we show that the expression pattern of AtERF38, which is, among the organs tested, more intensively expressed in mature siliques and floral stems, is closely associated with tissues that undergo secondary cell wall modifications. Firstly, public microarray data sets analysis indicates that AtERF38 is coregulated with several genes involved in secondary wall thickening. Secondly, this was experimentally confirmed in different types of cells expressing a Pro(AtERF38)::GUS fusion: histochemical analysis revealed strong and specific GUS activity in outer integument cells of mature seeds, endodermal cells of the roots in the primary developmental stage and some sclerified cells of mature inflorescence stems. All of these cells are known or shown here to be characterized by a reinforced wall. The latter, which have not been well characterized to date in Arabidopsis and may be suberized, could benefit of the use of AtERF38 as a specific marker. We were not able to detect any phenotype in an insertion line in which ectopic expression of AtERF38 is caused by the insertion of a T-DNA in its promoter. Nevertheless, AtERF28 may be considered as a candidate regulator of secondary wall metabolism in particular cell types that are not reinforced by the typical deposition of lignin and cellulose, but that have at least in common accumulation of suberin-like lipid polyesters in their walls.

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