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Plant Cell Physiol. 2010 Nov;51(11):1854-68. doi: 10.1093/pcp/pcq153. Epub 2010 Oct 11.

Maize DELLA proteins dwarf plant8 and dwarf plant9 as modulators of plant development.

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Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., a DuPont Business, PO Box 1004, Johnston, IA 50131-1004, USA.


DELLA proteins are nuclear-localized negative regulators of gibberellin signaling found ubiquitously throughout higher plants. Dominant dwarfing mutations of DELLA proteins have been primarily responsible for the dramatic increases in harvest index of the 'green revolution'. Maize contains two genetic loci encoding DELLA proteins, dwarf plant8 (d8) and dwarf plant 9 (d9). The d8 gene and three of its dominant dwarfing alleles have been previously characterized at the molecular level. Almost 20 years after the initial description of the mutant, this investigation represents the first molecular characterization of d9 and its gibberellin-insensitive mutant, D9-1. We have molecularly, subcellularly and phenotypically characterized the gene products of five maize DELLA alleles in transgenic Arabidopsis. In dissecting the molecular differences in D9-1, a critical residue for normal DELLA function has been uncovered, corresponding to E600 of the D9 protein. The gibberellin-insensitive D9-1 was found to produce dwarfing and, notably, earlier flowering in Arabidopsis. Conversely, overexpression of the D9-1 allele delayed flowering in transgenic maize, while overexpression of the d9 allele led to earlier flowering. These results corroborate findings that DELLA proteins are at the crux of many plant developmental pathways and suggest differing mechanisms of flowering time control by DELLAs in maize and Arabidopsis.

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