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Free Content Transactivation of BARNASE under the AtLTP1 promoter affects the basal pole of the embryo and shoot development of the adult plant in Arabidopsis

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Genetically controlled expression of a toxin provides a tool to remove a specific structure and consequently study its role during a developmental process. The availability of many tissue-specific promoters is a good argument for the development of such a strategy in plants. We have developed a conditional system for targeted toxin expression and demonstrated its use for generating embryo phenotypes that can bring valuable information about signalling during embryogenesis. The BARNASE gene was expressed in the Arabidopsis embryo under the control of two promoters, one from the cyclin AtCYCB1 gene and one from the AtLTP1 gene ( L ipid T ransfer P rotein 1). One-hundred percent seed abortion was obtained with the cyclin promoter. Surprisingly however, the embryos displayed a range of lethal phenotypes instead of a single arrested stage as expected from this promoter. We also show that BARNASE expression under the control of the AtLTP1 promoter affects the basal pole of the globular embryo. Together with reporter expression studies, this result suggests a role of the epidermis in controlling the development of the lower tier of the embryo. This defect was not embryo-lethal and we show that the seedlings displayed a severe shoot phenotype correlated to epidermal defects. Therefore, the epidermis does not play an active role during organogenesis in seedlings but is important for the postgermination development of a viable plant.
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Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana; BARNASE; embryo patterning; epidermis; transactivation system

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Laboratoire Génome et Développement des Plantes, CNRS-UMR 5096, 52 avenue de Villeneuve, 66 000 Perpignan, France, and, 2: Department of Plant Sciences, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3RB, UK

Publication date: December 1, 2001

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