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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Extragenic suppressors of the arabidopsis zwi-3 mutation identify new genes that function in trichome branch formation and pollen tube growth.

The plant cytoskeleton plays a pivotal role in determining the direction of cell wall expansion, and ultimately the cell's final shape. However, the mechanisms by which localized expansion events are initiated remain obscure. Mutational analysis of the trichome (plant hair) morphogenic pathway in Arabidopsis has identified at least eight genes that determine trichome branch number. One of these genes, ZWICHEL (ZWI), encodes a novel member of the kinesin superfamily of motor proteins. Mutations in the ZWI gene cause a reduction in the number of trichome branches. To identify additional genes involved in trichome branch initiation, we screened for extragenic suppressors of the zwi-3 mutation and isolated three suppressors that rescued the branch number defect of zwi-3. These suppressors define three genes, named suz, for suppressor of zwichel-3. All of the suppressors were shown to be allele specific. One of the suppressors, suz2, also rescued the trichome branch number defect of another branch mutant, furca1-2. Plants homozygous for suz2 have more than the wild-type number of trichome branches. This suggests that SUZ2 is a negative regulator of trichome branching and may interact with ZWI and FURCA1. The suz1 and suz3 mutants display no obvious phenotype in the absence of the zwi-3 mutation. The suz1 zwi-3 double mutants also exhibited a male-sterile phenotype due to a defect in pollen tube germination and growth, whereas both the suz1 and the zwi-3 single mutants are fertile. The synthetic male sterility of the suz1 zwi-3 double mutants suggests a role for SUZ1 and ZWI in pollen germination and pollen tube growth. DNA sequence analysis of the zwi-3 mutation indicated that only the tail domain of the zwi-3 protein would be expressed. Thus, the suz mutations show allele-specific suppression of a kinesin mutant that lacks the motor domain.[1]


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