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Plant J. 1996 Dec;10(6):1005-16.

The GURKE gene is required for normal organization of the apical region in the Arabidopsis embryo.

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Lehrstuhl für Genetik, Institut für Mikrobiologie und Genetik, Universität München, Germany.


Dicot plant embryos undergo a transition from radial to bilateral symmetry. In Arabidopsis, this change reflects patterning within the apical region, resulting in the formation of the cotyledon and shoot meristem primordia. Mutations in the GURKE gene give seedlings with highly reduced or no cotyledons. Both strong and weak gurke alleles confer this phenotypic variability although strong alleles often eliminate the entire apex and sometimes also part of the hypocotyl. The root and the root meristem as well as the radial pattern of concentric tissue layers are essentially normal. The mutant seedling phenotype can be traced back to the triangular/early-heart stage of embryogenesis when abnormal cell divisions occur within the apical region such that no or only rudimentary cotyledon primordia are established. The postembryonic development of gurke seedlings was examined in culture. In weak alleles, apical growth gave rise to abnormal leaves and stem-like structures and, eventually, abnormal flowers. In strong alleles, the apical region often failed to grow but occasionally produced fused leaf-like structures with no dorso-ventral polarity and a totally unorganized vascular system while no stems developed. The observations suggest that the GURKE gene is involved primarily in the organization of the apical region in the embryo and may also play a role during postembryonic development.

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