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Suspensor-derived polyembryony caused by altered expression of valyl-tRNA synthetase in the twn2 mutant of Arabidopsis
- Zhang, J.Z., Somerville, C.R.
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 1997 v.94 no.14 pp. 7349-7355
- Arabidopsis thaliana, polyembryony, structural genes, complementary DNA, phenotype, embryo (plant), mutation, transcription (genetics), gene expression, ligases, mutants, introns
- The twn2 mutant of Arabidopsis exhibits a defect in early embryogenesis where, following one or two divisions of the zygote, the decendents of the apical cell arrest. The basal cells that normally give rise to the suspensor proliferate abnormally, giving rise to multiple embryos. A high proportion of the seeds fail to develop viable embryos, and those that do, contain a high proportion of partially or completely duplicated embryos. The adult plants are smaller and less vigorous than the wild type and have a severely stunted root. The twn2-1 mutation, which is the only known allele, was caused by a T-DNA insertion in the 5' untranslated region of a putative valyl-tRNA synthetase gene, valRS. The insertion causes reduced transcription of the valRS gene in reproductive tissues and developing seeds but increased expression in leaves. Analysis of transcript initiation sites and the expression of promoter-reporter fusions in transgenic plants indicated that enhancer elements inside the first two introns interact with the border of the T-DNA to cause the altered pattern of expression of the valRS gene in the twn2 mutant. The phenotypic consequences of this unique mutation are interpreted in the context of a model, suggested by Vernon and Meinke [Vernon, D. M. & Meinke, D. W. (1994) Dev. Biol. 165, 566-573], in which the apical cell and its decendents normally suppress the embryogenic potential of the basal cell and its decendents during early embryo development.