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Aleurone Cell Identity Is Suppressed following Connation in Maize Kernels

Geisler-Lee, Jane, Gallie, Daniel R.
Plant physiology 2005 v.139 no.1 pp. 204-212
Zea mays, corn, transgenic plants, seeds, endosperm, aleurone layer, aleurone cells, plant proteins, alkyl (aryl) transferases, plant morphology, plant biochemistry, plant genetics, plant physiology
Expression of the cytokinin-synthesizing isopentenyl transferase enzyme under the control of the Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) SAG12 senescence-inducible promoter reverses the normal abortion of the lower floret from a maize (Zea mays) spikelet. Following pollination, the upper and lower floret pistils fuse, producing a connated kernel with two genetically distinct embryos and the endosperms fused along their abgerminal face. Therefore, ectopic synthesis of cytokinin was used to position two independent endosperms within a connated kernel to determine how the fused endosperm would affect the development of the two aleurone layers along the fusion plane. Examination of the connated kernel revealed that aleurone cells were present for only a short distance along the fusion plane whereas starchy endosperm cells were present along most of the remainder of the fusion plane, suggesting that aleurone development is suppressed when positioned between independent starchy endosperms. Sporadic aleurone cells along the fusion plane were observed and may have arisen from late or imperfect fusion of the endosperms of the connated kernel, supporting the observation that a peripheral position at the surface of the endosperm and not proximity to maternal tissues such as the testa and pericarp are important for aleurone development. Aleurone mosaicism was observed in the crown region of nonconnated SAG12-isopentenyl transferase kernels, suggesting that cytokinin can also affect aleurone development.