Differential display was used to isolate genes differentially expressed early in fruit development of apple (Malus domestica Borkh.). This approach resulted in the isolation of MDH1, a homeobox gene with a homeodomain similar to that of BELL1 (BEL1), which is involved in regulation of ovule development in Arabidopsis. However, outside the homeodomain MDH1 is quite different from BEL1. In apple, MDH1 mRNA was predominantly found in flowers, expanding leaves and expanding fruit. In pre-anthesis flowers, in situ hybridization showed that MDH1 mRNA accumulated in ovules. To further investigate the function of this new homeobox gene, MDH1 was transformed into Arabidopsis thaliana under the control of the cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter. The transgenic Arabidopsis plants showed dwarfing, reduced fertility and changes in carpel and fruit (silique) shape. The size and shape of the cells in the transgenic fruit was irregular. Both the transgenic phenotypes in Arabidopsis and the expression pattern of this gene in apple are consistent with the idea that MDH1 is likely to play an important role in control of plant fertility.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 16, 2004
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