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Plant Cell Physiol. 2012 Jul;53(7):1217-31. doi: 10.1093/pcp/pcs063. Epub 2012 Apr 25.

Molecular and functional characterization of broccoli EMBRYONIC FLOWER 2 genes.

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Institute of Plant and Microbial Biology, Academia Sinica, Taipei 11529, Taiwan.


Polycomb group (PcG) proteins regulate major developmental processes in Arabidopsis. EMBRYONIC FLOWER 2 (EMF2), the VEFS domain-containing PcG gene, regulates diverse genetic pathways and is required for vegetative development and plant survival. Despite widespread EMF2-like sequences in plants, little is known about their function other than in Arabidopsis and rice. To study the role of EMF2 in broccoli (Brassica oleracea var. italica cv. Elegance) development, we identified two broccoli EMF2 (BoEMF2) genes with sequence homology to and a similar gene expression pattern to that in Arabidopsis (AtEMF2). Reducing their expression in broccoli resulted in aberrant phenotypes and gene expression patterns. BoEMF2 regulates genes involved in diverse developmental and stress programs similar to AtEMF2 in Arabidopsis. However, BoEMF2 differs from AtEMF2 in the regulation of flower organ identity, cell proliferation and elongation, and death-related genes, which may explain the distinct phenotypes. The expression of BoEMF2.1 in the Arabidopsis emf2 mutant (Rescued emf2) partially rescued the mutant phenotype and restored the gene expression pattern to that of the wild type. Many EMF2-mediated molecular and developmental functions are conserved in broccoli and Arabidopsis. Furthermore, the restored gene expression pattern in Rescued emf2 provides insights into the molecular basis of PcG-mediated growth and development.

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