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AHP2, AHP3, and AHP5 act downstream of CKI1 in Arabidopsis female gametophyte development


Histidine phosphotransfer proteins (HPs) are key elements of the two-component signaling system, which act as a shuttle to transfer phosphorylation signals from histidine kinases (HKs) to response regulators (RRs). CYTOKININ INDEPENDENT 1 (CKI1), a key regulator of central cell specification in the Arabidopsis female gametophyte, activates the cytokinin signaling pathway through the Arabidopsis histidine phosphotransfer proteins (AHPs). There are five HP genes in Arabidopsis, AHP1-AHP5, but it remains unknown which AHP genes act downstream of CKI1 in Arabidopsis female gametophyte development. Promoter activity analysis of AHP1-AHP5 in embryo sacs revealed AHP1, AHP2, AHP3, and AHP5 expression in the central cell. Phenotypic studies of various combinations of ahp mutants showed that triple mutations in AHP2, AHP3, and AHP5 resulted in defective embryo sac development. Using cell-specific single and double markers in the female gametophyte, the ahp2-2 ahp3 ahp5-2/+ triple mutant ovules showed loss of central cell and antipodal cell fates and gain of egg cell or synergid cell attributes, resembling the cki1 mutant phenotypes. These data suggest that AHP2, AHP3, and AHP5 are the major factors acting downstream of CKI1 in the two-component cytokinin signaling pathway to promote Arabidopsis female gametophyte development.

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