The cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitors ICK1 and ICK2 have been shown to inhibit plant CDK activity in vitro, and the expression of ICK1 was able to inhibit cell division in the plant and modify plant growth and morphology. In order to characterize other ICK1-related inhibitor genes and understand possible differences among plant CDK inhibitors, the interactions of plant CDK inhibitors with cell cycle regulators were analysed in the yeast two-hybrid system and their functions were compared in transgenic Arabidopsis plants. Yeast two-hybrid results indicate that there are likely two groups of plant CDK inhibitors. The A-group inhibitors ICK1, ICK2, ICK6 and ICK7 interact with Cdc2a and three D-type cyclins (D1, D2 and D3), while the B-group inhibitors ICK4, ICK5 and ICKCr interact with D-type cyclins but not with Arabidopsis Cdc2a. ICK1 (A-group), and ICK4 and ICKCr (B-group) were expressed separately in transgenic Arabidopsis plants. Overexpression of the three inhibitor genes resulted in plants of a smaller size with serrated leaves and modified flowers. These plants also had reduced nuclear DNA content (polyploidy), suggesting that expression of these inhibitors affected endoreduplication. Further, there were apparent differences in the strength of effect among the inhibitors. These results provide the first evidence on the CDK inhibitory function for ICK4 and ICKCr. They also suggest that these CDK inhibitors play important roles in cell division and plant growth.
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Zhou, Y., Fowke, L. & Wang, H. Plant CDK inhibitors: studies of interactions with cell cycle regulators in the yeast two-hybrid system and functional comparisons in transgenic Arabidopsis plants. Plant Cell Rep 20, 967–975 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00299-001-0434-8