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PLoS One. 2014 Apr 22;9(4):e94830. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0094830. eCollection 2014.

Ectopic expression of a maize hybrid down-regulated gene ZmARF25 decreases organ size by affecting cellular proliferation in Arabidopsis.

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State Key Laboratory for Agrobiotechnology and Key Laboratory of Crop Heterosis and Utilization (MOE), Beijing Key Laboratory of Crop Genetic Improvement, China Agricultural University, Beijing, China; National Plant Gene Research Centre (Beijing), Beijing, China.


Heterosis is associated with differential gene expression between hybrids and their parental lines, and the genes involved in cell proliferation played important roles. AtARF2 is a general cell proliferation repressor in Arabidopsis. In our previous study, two homologues (ZmARF10 and ZmARF25) of AtARF2 were identified in maize, but their relationship with heterosis was not elucidated. Here, the expression patterns of ZmARF10 and ZmARF25 in seedling leaves of maize hybrids and their parental lines were analyzed. The results of qRT-PCR exhibited that ZmARF25 was down-regulated in leaf basal region of hybrids. Moreover, overexpression of ZmARF25 led to reduced organ size in Arabidopsis, which was mainly due to the decrease in cell number, not cell size. In addition, the cell proliferation related genes AtANT, AtGIF1 and AtGRF5 were down-regulated in 35S::ZmARF25 transgenic lines. Collectively, we proposed that the down-regulation of ZmARF25 in maize hybrid may accelerate cell proliferation and promote leaf development, which, in turn, contributes to the observed leaf size heterosis in maize.

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