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The thick aleurone1 Mutant Defines a Negative Regulation of Maize Aleurone Cell Fate That Functions Downstream of defective kernel1

Gibum Yi, Adrienne M. Lauter, M. Paul Scott and Philip W. Becraft
Plant Physiology
Vol. 156, No. 4 (August 2011), pp. 1826-1836
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41435086
Page Count: 11
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The thick aleurone1 Mutant Defines a Negative Regulation of Maize Aleurone Cell Fate That Functions Downstream of defective kernel1
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Abstract

The maize (Zea mays) aleurone layer occupies the single outermost layer of the endosperm. The defective kernel1 (dekl) gene is a central regulator required for aleurone cell fate specification, dek1 mutants have pleiotropic phenotypes including lack of aleurone cells, aborted embryos, carotenoid deficiency, and a soft, floury endosperm deficient in zeins. Here we describe the thick aleuronel (thk1) mutant that defines a novel negative function in the regulation of aleurone differentiation. Mutants possess multiple layers of aleurone cells as well as aborted embryos. Clonal sectors of thk1 mutant tissue in otherwise normal endosperm showed localized expression of the phenotype with sharp boundaries, indicating a localized cellular function for the gene. Sectors in leaves showed expanded epidermal cell morphology but the mutant epidermis generally remained in a single cell layer. Double mutant analysis indicated that the thkl mutant is epistatic to dek1 for several aspects of the pleiotropic dekl phenotype. dek1 mutant endosperm that was mosaic for thk1 mutant sectors showed localized patches of multilayered aleurone. Localized sectors were surrounded by halos of carotenoid pigments and double mutant kernels had restored zein profiles. In sum, loss of thk1 function restored the ability of dek1 mutant endosperm to accumulate carotenoids and zeins and to differentiate aleurone. Therefore the thk1 mutation defines a negative regulator that functions downstream of dek1 in the signaling system that controls aleurone specification and other aspects of endosperm development. The thk1 mutation was found to be caused by a deletion of approximately 2 megabases.

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