J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2015, Vol. 57 ›› Issue (3): 236-246.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12234

• Cell and Developmental Biology • Previous Articles     Next Articles

A putative plant organelle RNA recognition protein gene is essential for maize kernel development

Antony M. Chettoor1†, Gibum Yi1‡, Elisa Gomez2, Gregorio Hueros2, Robert B. Meeley3 and Philip W. Becraft1,4*   

  1. 1Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, USA
    2Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine, University of Alcala, University Campus, Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain
    3DuPont Pioneer, Johnston, IA, USA
    4Department of Agronomy, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, USA
  • Received:2014-04-08 Accepted:2014-06-29 Published:2014-07-02
  • About author:Present address: Carnegie Institution of Science, Stanford, CA 50010, USA
    Present address: Plant Genomics and Breeding Institute, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, Republic of Korea.
    *Correspondence: E-mail: becraft@iastate.edu


Basal endosperm transfer layer (BETL) cells are responsible for transferring apoplastic solutes from the maternal pedicel into the endosperm, supplying the grain with compounds required for embryo development and storage reserve accumulation. Here, we analyze the maize (Zea mays L.) empty pericarp6 (emp6) mutant, which causes early arrest in grain development. The Emp6+gene function is required independently in both the embryo and endosperm. The emp6 mutant causes a notable effect on the differentiation of BETL cells; the extensive cell wall ingrowths that distinguish BETL cells are diminished and BETL marker gene expression is compromised in mutant kernels. Transposon tagging identified the emp6 locus as encoding a putative plant organelle RNA recognition (PORR) protein, 1 of 15 PORR family members in maize. The emp6 transcript is widely detected in plant tissues with highest levels in embryos and developing kernels. EMP6-green fluorescent protein (GFP) fusion proteins transiently expressed in Nicotiana benthamiana leaves were targeted specifically to mitochondria. These results suggest that BETL cell differentiation might be particularly energy intensive, or alternatively, that mitochondria might confer a developmental function.

Chettoor AM, Yi G, Gomez E, Hueros G, Meeley RB, Becraft PW (2015) A putative plant organelle RNA recognition protein gene is essential for maize kernel Development. J Integr Plant Biol 57: 236–246. doi: 10.1111/jipb.12234

Key words: Empty pericarp, endosperm, mitochondria, RNA processing, transfer cell

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