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Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2012 Dec;15(6):670-6. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2012.09.012. Epub 2012 Oct 6.

Organ abscission: exit strategies require signals and moving traffic.

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Department of Biology, University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS 38677-1848, USA.


Flowers are frequently programmed to release their outer organs after pollination. Managing the timing and extent of cell separation during abscission is crucial, as premature shedding could interfere with reproduction and the structural integrity of neighboring tissues would be affected by uninhibited loss of cellular adhesion. In Arabidopsis flowers, the framework of the cell signaling, membrane traffic and transcriptional networks responsible for organ abscission is now emerging. A proposed ligand-receptor system consisting of a secreted peptide and a pair of redundant receptor-like kinases switches on a mitogen-activated protein kinase cascade that leads to cell separation. A homeodomain transcription factor acting downstream of the ligand-receptor module may inhibit cell expansion and separation by restricting the expression of other closely related transcription factors. Three additional receptor-like kinases may inhibit abscission by reducing the pool of receptors at the cell surface available to be ligand-activated. A G-protein regulator is required to direct the movement of key molecules required for abscission. Expression of a polygalaturonase active during organ abscission is modulated by a zinc finger transcription factor.

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