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J Exp Bot. 2012 Jun;63(10):3559-70. doi: 10.1093/jxb/ers012. Epub 2012 Mar 13.

An Arabidopsis rhomboid protease has roles in the chloroplast and in flower development.

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Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.


Increasing numbers of cellular pathways are now recognized to be regulated via proteolytic processing events. The rhomboid family of serine proteases plays a pivotal role in a diverse range of pathways, activating and releasing proteins via regulated intramembrane proteolysis. The prototype rhomboid protease, rhomboid-1 in Drosophila, is the key activator of epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor pathway signalling in the fly and thus affects multiple aspects of development. The role of the rhomboid family in plants is explored and another developmental phenotype, this time in a mutant of an Arabidopsis chloroplast-localized rhomboid, is reported here. It is confirmed by GFP-protein fusion that this protease is located in the envelope of chloroplasts and of chlorophyll-free plastids elsewhere in the plant. Mutant plants lacking this organellar rhomboid demonstrate reduced fertility, as documented previously with KOM-the one other Arabidopsis rhomboid mutant that has been reported in the literature-along with aberrant floral morphology.

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