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Title: The ULT trxG Fatcors play a role in Arabidopsis Fertilization

item MONAFRED, MONA - University Of California
item Fletcher, Jennifer

Submitted to: Plant Signaling and Behavior
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/22/2014
Publication Date: 12/29/2014
Citation: Monafred, M.M., Fletcher, J.C. 2014. The ULT trxG Fatcors play a role in Arabidopsis Fertilization. Plant Signaling and Behavior. 9(12):e977723.

Interpretive Summary: Understanding the process of plant fertilization is critical for enhancing seed yield in agricultural crops. Our previous studies have identified a gene called ULTRAPETALA1 (ULT1) that plays an important role in controlling vegetative and reproductive development, but was not previously known to function in seed formation. In this work we have shown ULT1 is necessary for ovules to be properly fertilized and develop into viable seeds, revealing a novel role for the gene in promoting Arabidopsis fertility. Our research identifies a previously unknown factor that is needed for plant fertility, providing a novel target for manipulation to improve key agronomic traits such as fruit and grain yield.

Technical Abstract: Trithorax group (trxG) and Polycomb group (PcG) proteins are epigenetic modifiers that play key roles in eukaryotic development by promoting active or repressive gene expression states, respectively. Although PcG proteins have well-defined roles in controlling developmental transitions, cell fate decisions and cellular differentiation in plants, relatively little is known about the functions of plant trxG factors. We recently determined the biological roles for the ULT1 and ULT2 trxG genes during Arabidopsis vegetative and reproductive development. Our study revealed that ULT1 and ULT2 genes have overlapping activities in regulating Arabidopsis shoot and floral stem cell activity, and that they have a redundant function in establishing the apical-basal polarity axis of the gynoecium. Here we present data that ult1 and ult1 ult2 siliques contain a significant proportion of aborted ovules, supporting an additional role for ULT1 in Arabidopsis fertility. Our results add to the number of plant developmental processes that are regulated by trxG activity.