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Keywords:

  • MADS-box B-sister gene;
  • AGL63;
  • plant development;
  • fruit growth;
  • cell expansion;
  • integument development

Summary

The MADS-box family of transcription factors have diverse developmental roles in flower pattern formation, gametophyte cell division and fruit differentiation. The B-sister MADS-box proteins are most similar to the B-class floral homeotic proteins, and are expressed in female reproductive organs. The Arabidopsis B-sister MADS-box protein, TT16, is necessary for inner integument differentiation. We have functionally characterized the only other B-sister MADS-box gene in Arabidopsis, AGL63, renamed here as GORDITA (GOA). A loss-of-function mutation in goa or reduction of endogenous GOA expression results in larger fruits, illustrating its novel function in regulating fruit growth. Consistent with its function, GOA expression is detected in the walls of the valves and throughout the replum of the fruit. Our phenotypic and molecular analyses of 35S::GOA and goa plants show that GOA controls organ size via cell expansion. Further, functional studies of goa tt16 double mutants have shown their additive role in controlling seed coat development, and have revealed the importance of GOA expression in the outer integument. Together, our studies provide evidence of a new regulatory role for a B-sister MADS-box gene in the control of organ growth.