, Volume 245, Issue 5, pp 636-643

The homeotic Macho mutant of Antirrhinum majus reverts to wild-type or mutates to the homeotic plena phenotype

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Abstract

Plants of Antirrhinum majus carrying the semidominant Macho alleles of the plena gene display carpelloid sepals and staminoid petals, but the two inner flower whorls of stamens and carpels are normal and produce fertile gametes. In the recessive plena mutant, in contrast, the two outer whorls are normal whereas the stamens are largely or entirely petaloid and the carpels sepaloid, thus producing weakly male-fertile or fully sterile lines. Two new plena and two new Macho alleles have been induced in transposon tagging experiments. Genetic and molecular analysis revealed that the two contrasting mutant phenotypes are caused by mutations in one and the same gene: Several wild-type plants appeared among 27 000 F1 plants of a cross between Macho female plants and wild-type males bearing the active transposons Taml and Tam3. One of these plants segregated plena mutants, three showed reversions to wild-type and another two segregated Macho plants, possibly representing somatic reversions. Additional evidence was provided by an allelism test of Macho × plena. Molecular analysis has independently corroborated the genetical results. Moreover, the double mutant Macho/deficiens shows only carpels and plena/deficiens only sepals, which is in accord with combinatorial models for homeotic flower formation presented recently.

Communicated by J. Schell