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Development. 2009 Jun;136(11):1909-18. doi: 10.1242/dev.033605.

Regulation of membrane trafficking and organ separation by the NEVERSHED ARF-GAP protein.

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Department of Biology and Molecular Biology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.


Cell separation, or abscission, is a highly specialized process in plants that facilitates remodeling of their architecture and reproductive success. Because few genes are known to be essential for organ abscission, we conducted a screen for mutations that alter floral organ shedding in Arabidopsis. Nine recessive mutations that block shedding were found to disrupt the function of an ADP-ribosylation factor-GTPase-activating protein (ARF-GAP) we have named NEVERSHED (NEV). As predicted by its homology to the yeast Age2 ARF-GAP and transcriptional profile, NEV influences other aspects of plant development, including fruit growth. Co-localization experiments carried out with NEV-specific antiserum and a set of plant endomembrane markers revealed that NEV localizes to the trans-Golgi network and endosomes in Arabidopsis root epidermal cells. Interestingly, transmission electron micrographs of abscission zone regions from wild-type and nev flowers reveal defects in the structure of the Golgi apparatus and extensive accumulation of vesicles adjacent to the cell walls. Our results suggest that NEV ARF-GAP activity at the trans-Golgi network and distinct endosomal compartments is required for the proper trafficking of cargo molecules required for cell separation.

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