Altered expression of expansin modulates leaf growth and pedicel abscission in Arabidopsis thaliana

Hyung Taeg Cho, Daniel J. Cosgrove

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Abstract

Expansins are cell-wall-loosening proteins that induce stress relaxation and extension of plant cell walls. To evaluate their hypothesized role in cell growth, we genetically manipulated expansin gene expression in Arabidopsis thaliana and assessed the consequent changes in growth and cell-wall properties. Various combinations of promoters were used to drive antisense and sense sequences of AtEXP10 which is maximally expressed in the growing leaf and at the base of the pedicel. Compared with controls, antisense lines had smaller rosettes because of shorter petioles and leaf blades and often acquired a twisted leaf morphology. Petiole cells from antisense plants were smaller than controls and their cell walls were significantly less extensible in vitro. Sense plants had slightly longer petioles, larger leaf blades, and larger cells than controls. Abscission at the base of the pedicel, where AtEXP10 is endogenously expressed, was enhanced in sense plants but reduced in antisense lines. These results support the concept that expansins function endogenously as cell-wall-loosening agents and indicate that expansins have versatile developmental roles that include control of organ size, morphology, and abscission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9783-9788
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume97
Issue number17
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 15 2000

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