The Arabidopsis thaliana GRF-INTERACTING FACTOR gene family plays an essential role in control of male and female reproductive development

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Developmental Biology

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Reproductive success of angiosperms relies on the precise development of the gynoecium and the anther, because their primary function is to bear and to nurture the embryo sac/female gametophyte and pollen, in which the egg and sperm cells, respectively, are generated. It has been known that the GRF-INTERACTING FACTOR (GIF) transcription co-activator family of Arabidopsis thaliana (Arabidopsis) consists of three members and acts as a positive regulator of cell proliferation. Here, we demonstrate that GIF proteins also play an essential role in development of reproductive organs and generation of the gamete cells. The gif1 gif2 gif3 triple mutant, but not the single or double mutants, failed to establish normal carpel margin meristem (CMM) and its derivative tissues, such as the ovule and the septum, resulting in a split gynoecium and no observable embryo sac. The gif triple mutant also displayed severe structural and functional defects in the anther, producing neither microsporangium nor pollen grains. Therefore, we propose that the GIF family of Arabidopsis is a novel and essential component required for the cell specification maintenance during reproductive organ development and, ultimately, for the reproductive competence.

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