The Role of the Maize Viviparous-1 Gene in Regulation of Seed Maturation
Late in the course of seed formation tissues that are destined to remain viable in the dry seed undergo a maturation process during which further development is arrested and tolerance to desiccation is acquired. The viviparous mutants of maize which fail to complete maturation identify genes that are essential for this process (Robertson, 1955; McCarty and Carson, 1991; McCarty et al., 1992). In this paper we will address the regulation of the maturation program on two levels: 1) how intrinsic and extrinsic signals are integrated to produce a developmentally specific response and 2) how the diverse metabolic pathways associated with maturation are integrated by a regulatory hierarchy into a common developmental program. We explore the notion that these two integration processes are intimately related and involve a common mechanism operating at the level of transcriptional regulation. This model is motivated by our analysis of the role of the Viviparous-1 (Vp1) gene in regulating the maturation program in maize. Finally, our results offer some insight into how at least part of the regulatory network controlling maturation evolved.
KeywordsAbscisic Acid Seed Maturation Anthocyanin Synthesis Anthocyanin Pathway Regulatory Hierarchy
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