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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: POSITIONAL CLONING IN MAIZE OF GENES THAT REGULATE PLANT ARCHITECTURE

Location: Plant Gene Expression Center Albany_CA

Title: The maize tasselseed4 microRNA controls sex determination and meristem cell fate by targeting Tasselseed6/indeterminate spikelet1

Authors
item Chuck, George
item Meely, Robert - PIONEER HI-BRED IOWA
item Irish, Erin - UNIV IOWA, IOWA CITY, IA
item Sakai, Hajime - DUPONT CROP GENETICS, DE
item Hake, Sarah

Submitted to: Nature Genetics
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: November 18, 2007
Publication Date: December 1, 2007
Repository URL: http://www.nature.com/ng/journal/v39/n12/pdf/ng.2007.20.pdf
Citation: Chuck, G.S., Meely, R., Irish, E., Sakai, H., Hake, S.C. 2007. The maize tasselseed4 microRNA controls sex determination and meristem cell fate by targeting Tasselseed6/indeterminate spikelet1. Nature Genetics. 39(12):1517-1521.

Interpretive Summary: The maize tasselseed4 microRNA controls sex determination and meristem cell fate by targeting Tasselseed6/indeterminate spikelet1. In maize (Zea mays), sex determination occurs through abortion of female carpels in the tassel and arrest of male stamens in the ear. The Tasselseed6 (Ts6) and tasselseed4 (ts4) mutations permit carpel development in the tassel while increasing meristem branching, showing that sex determination and acquisition of meristem fate share a common pathway. We cloned both ts4 and Ts6. ts4 encodes the microRNA, mir172, and Ts6 encodes an AP2 gene that is negatively regulated by mir172. Thus, these two genes work together in a pathway. Our results demonstrate that sexual identity in maize is acquired by limiting floral growth through negative regulation of the floral homeotic pathway.

Technical Abstract: In maize (Zea mays), sex determination occurs through abortion of female carpels in the tassel and arrest of male stamens in the ear. The Tasselseed6 (Ts6) and tasselseed4 (ts4) mutations permit carpel development in the tassel while increasing meristem branching, showing that sex determination and acquisition of meristem fate share a common pathway. We show that ts4 encodes a mir172 microRNA that targets APETALA2 floral homeotic transcription factors. Three lines of evidence suggest that indeterminate spikelet1 (ids1), an APETALA2 gene required for spikelet meristem determinacy, is a key target of ts4. First, loss of ids1 suppresses the ts4 sex determination and branching defects. Second, Ts6 mutants phenocopy ts4 and possess mutations in the microRNA binding site of ids1. Finally, IDS1 protein is expressed more broadly in ts4 mutants compared to wild type. Our results demonstrate that sexual identity in maize is acquired by limiting floral growth through negative regulation of the floral homeotic pathway.

Last Modified: 8/27/2014
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