, Volume 50, Issue 2, pp 295-305

A cell wall protein down-regulated by auxin suppresses cell expansion in Daucus carota (L.)

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We investigated the function of the auxin-regulated cell wall gene DC 2.15, a member of a small gene family, present in Daucus carota (L.) and other plants. Cultured cells derived from carrot hypocotyls transformed by the DC 2.15 cDNA in antisense direction were ten-fold longer than wild-type cells, indicating a function of the corresponding protein in suppression of cell expansion. The analysis of carrot plants expressing the DC 2.15 gene in antisense direction showed that the corresponding protein and/or related proteins probably are involved in leaf and vascular bundle development. The antisense plants generally displayed a retarded growth phenotype and delayed greening in comparison to wild-type plants. The asymmetric architecture of the wild-type leaves was degenerated in the DC 2.15 antisense plants and the leaves showed a torsion within and along their major vein. The vascular bundles showed a lowered ratio of the phloem/xylem area in cross sections of the leaf middle vein whereas the bundle sheath and the cambium showed no obvious phenotype. Expression of a promoter-GUS construct was found primarily in vascular bundles of stems, leaves and in the nectar-producing flower discs. The observed pleiotropic antisense phenotype indicates, by loss of function, that one or several related cell wall proteins of this gene family are necessary to realize several complex developmental processes.