A new family of three related cyclins has been identified in Arabidopsis by complementation of a yeast strain deficient in G1 cyclins. Individual members show tissue-specific expression and are conserved in other plant species. They form a distinctive group of plant cyclins, which we named delta-type cyclins to indicate their similarities with mammalian D-type cyclins. The sequence relationships between delta and D cyclins include the N-terminal sequence LXCXE. This motif was originally identified in certain viral oncoproteins and is strongly implicated in binding to the retinoblastoma protein pRb. By analogy to mammalian cyclin D, these plant homologs may mediate growth and phytohormonal signals into the plant cell cycle. In support of this hypothesis, we show that, on restimulation of suspension-cultured cells, cyclin delta 3 is rapidly induced by the plant growth regulator cytokinin and cyclin delta 2 is induced by carbon source.
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