- •A cDNA encoding a small lysine-rich protein of unknown function was identified in a tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) stigma/style suppression subtractive hybridization cDNA library. After its characterization, the corresponding gene was designated stigma/style cell cycle inhibitor 1 (SCI1).
- •Fluorescence microscopy with an SCI1-GFP protein fusion demonstrated its nuclear localization, which was confined to the interchromatic region. Real-time RT-PCR and in situ hybridization experiments showed that SCI1 is stigma/style-specific and developmentally regulated.
- •SCI1 RNAi knockdown and overexpression plants had stigmas/styles with remarkably enlarged and reduced areas, respectively, which was attributable to differences in cell numbers. These results indicate that SCI1 is a tissue-specific negative cell cycle regulator.
- •The differences in cell division had an effect on the timing of the differentiation of the stigmatic papillar cells, suggesting that their differentiation is coupled to stigma cell divisions. This is consistent with a role for SCI1 in triggering differentiation through cell proliferation control. Our results revealed that SCI1 is a novel tissue-specific gene that controls cell proliferation/differentiation, probably as a component of a developmental signal transduction pathway.