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Free Content The Petunia tra1 gene controls cell elongation and plant development, and mediates responses to cytokinins

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The molecular control of cell elongation, one of the basic processes of plant morphogenesis, is still largely not understood. This paper describes a Petunia hybrida mutant of dumpy phenotype, trapu, which identifies tra1, a gene required for cell elongation and mediating responses to applied cytokinin. This mutant displayed an extreme reduction in length, due to a single recessive mutation which was expressed in every part of the plant and during the entire life of the plant, including the mature embryo. The mutant was unable to flower. The mutant roots, as well as the leafy organs, were short and thick, and the root elongation zone, hypocotyl and petioles were absent. The mutant plantlets responded neither to applied auxin nor to gibberellin, indicating that this phenotype was not caused by a deprivation of these phytohormones. However, unlike the wildtype, the mutant growth was stimulated by applied cytokinin, even though its morphology remained abnormal. A histological study revealed the presence of all tissue types in normal positions, including root hairs and vascular bundles. The mutant's cells were rounder in every tissue. Both shoot and root meristems were disorganized, without consistent cell shape and size. The regular cell files, which are typical of a normal root apex organization, were totally absent in the mutant root apex. Indirect immunofluorescence of α-tubulin on root apices showed the cortical microtubules in the mutant cells to be unable to form the parallel arrays in elongating cells and the preprophase band in dividing cells. This default resulted in the prevention of unidirectional cell elongation and formation of regular cell files, thus causing the trapu phenotype. This paper discusses the similarities and differences of trapu to the Arabidopsis mutants, fass and ton, trapu confirming that the establishment of plant body pattern and differentiation can be dissociated from cell elongation.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Laboratoire Androgénèse et Biotechnologie, Université de Picardie Jules Verne, 33, rue St Leu, 80039 Amiens Cedex, France 2: Exploitation du Polymorphisme, CNRS ERS 31, bat. 360, Universite Paris-Sud, 91405 Orsay Cedex, France

Publication date: July 1, 1996

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