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Planta. 2013 Apr;237(4):1001-13. doi: 10.1007/s00425-012-1812-x. Epub 2012 Nov 29.

Identification of a novel homolog for a calmodulin-binding protein that is upregulated in alloplasmic wheat showing pistillody.

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Department of Bioscience, Fukui Prefectural University, 4-1-1 Matsuoka-kenjojima, Eiheiji-cho, Yoshida-gun, Fukui, 910-1195, Japan.


Intracellular signaling pathways between the mitochondria and the nucleus are important in both normal and abnormal development in plants. The homeotic transformation of stamens into pistil-like structures (a phenomenon termed pistillody) in cytoplasmic substitution (alloplasmic) lines of bread wheat (Triticum aestivum) has been suggested to be induced by mitochondrial retrograde signaling, one of the forms of intracellular communication. We showed previously that the mitochondrial gene orf260 could alter the expression of nuclear class B MADS-box genes to induce pistillody. To elucidate the interactions between orf260 and nuclear homeotic genes, we performed a microarray analysis to compare gene expression patterns in the young spikes of a pistillody line and a normal line. We identified five genes that showed higher expression levels in the pistillody line. Quantitative expression analysis using real-time PCR indicated that among these five genes, Wheat Calmodulin-Binding Protein 1 (WCBP1) was significantly upregulated in young spikes of the pistillody line. The amino acid sequence of WCBP1 was predicted from the full-length cDNA sequence and found to encode a novel plant calmodulin-binding protein. RT-PCR analysis indicated that WCBP1 was preferentially expressed in young spikes at an early stage and decreased during spike maturation, indicating that it was associated with spikelet/floret development. Furthermore, in situ hybridization analysis suggested that WCBP1 was highly expressed in the pistil-like stamens at early to late developmental stages. These results indicate that WCBP1 plays a role in formation and development of pistil-like stamens induced by mitochondrial retrograde signaling.

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