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Cell. 1991 Sep 6;66(5):895-905.

The Viviparous-1 developmental gene of maize encodes a novel transcriptional activator.

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Vegetable Crops Department, University of Florida, Gainesville 32611.


The Viviparous-1 (Vp1) gene of maize is specifically required for expression of the maturation program in seed development. We show that Vp1 encodes a 73,335 dalton protein with no detectable homology to known proteins. An acidic transcriptional activation sequence was identified by fusion to the GAL4 DNA-binding domain. Expression of VP1 in maize protoplasts resulted in strong activation (greater than 130-fold) of a reporter gene fused to the promoter of a presumptive target gene. The acidic domain in VP1 was essential for transactivation and could be functionally replaced by the activator sequence of the herpes simplex virus VP16 protein. Our results indicate that VP1 is a novel transcription factor possibly involved in potentiation of a seed-specific hormone response.

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