Arabidopsis abscisic acid (ABA)–insensitive abi4 mutants have pleiotropic defects in seed development, including decreased sensitivity to ABA inhibition of germination and altered seed-specific gene expression. This phenotype is consistent with a role for ABI4 in regulating seed responses to ABA and/or seed-specific signals. We isolated the ABI4 gene by positional cloning and confirmed its identity by complementation analysis. The predicted protein product shows homology to a plant-specific family of transcriptional regulators characterized by a conserved DNA binding domain, the APETALA2 domain. The single mutant allele identified has a single base pair deletion, resulting in a frameshift that should disrupt the C-terminal half of the protein but leave the presumed DNA binding domain intact. Expression analyses showed that despite the seed-specific nature of the mutant phenotype, ABI4 expression is not seed specific.
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