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Plant J. 2010 Aug;63(4):651-61. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2010.04269.x.

GIGANTEA is a component of a regulatory pathway determining wall ingrowth deposition in phloem parenchyma transfer cells of Arabidopsis thaliana.

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Plant Science Group, School of Environmental and Life Sciences, The University of Newcastle, Newcastle NSW 2308, Australia.


Transfer cells are specialised transport cells containing invaginated wall ingrowths that generate an amplified plasma membrane surface area with high densities of transporter proteins. They trans-differentiate from differentiated cells at sites at which enhanced rates of nutrient transport occur across apo/symplasmic boundaries. Despite their physiological importance, little is known of the molecular mechanisms regulating construction of their intricate wall ingrowths. We investigated the genetic control of wall ingrowth formation in phloem parenchyma transfer cells of leaf minor veins in Arabidopsis thaliana. Wall ingrowth development in these cells is substantially enhanced upon exposing plants to high-light or cold treatments. A hierarchical bioinformatic analysis of public microarray datasets derived from the leaves of plants subjected to these treatments identified GIGANTEA (GI) as one of 46 genes that are commonly up-regulated twofold or more under both high-light and cold conditions. Histological analysis of the GI mutants gi-2 and gi-3 showed that the amount of phloem parenchyma containing wall ingrowths was reduced 15-fold compared with wild-type. Discrete papillate wall ingrowths were formed in gi-2 plants but failed to develop into branched networks. Wall ingrowth development in gi-2 was not rescued by exposing these plants to high-light or cold conditions. In contrast, over-expression of GI in the gi-2 background restored wall ingrowth deposition to wild-type levels. These results indicate that GI regulates the ongoing development of wall ingrowth networks at a point downstream of inputs from environmental signals.

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