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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Three Brick genes have distinct functions in a common pathway promoting polarized cell division and cell morphogenesis in the maize leaf epidermis

  • Author(s): Frank, M J
  • Cartwright, H N
  • Smith, Laurie G
  • et al.

We have taken a genetic approach to investigating cytoskeleton-dependent mechanisms governing cell morphogenesis in the maize leaf epidermis. Previously, we showed that the Brick1 (Brk1) gene is required for the formation of epidermal cell lobes as well as for properly polarized divisions of stomatal subsidiary mother cells, and encodes an 8 kDa protein highly conserved in plants and animals. Here, we show that two additional Brick genes, Brk2 and Brk3, are involved in the same aspects of epidermal cell morphogenesis and division. As shown previously for Brk1, analysis of the cytoskeleton shows that Brk2 and Brk3 are required for the formation of local F-actin enrichments associated with lobe outgrowth in wildtype cells. Analysis of brk1;brk2, brk1;brk3 and brk2;brk3 double mutants shows that their phenotypes are the same as those of brk single mutants. Mosaic analysis shows that Brk1 acts non cell-autonomously over a short distance. By contrast, Brk2 and Brk3 act cell-autonomously to promote pavement cell lobe formation, but Brk3 acts non cell-autonomously, and Brk2 partially non cell-autonomously, to promote polarized subsidiary mother cell divisions. Together, these observations indicate that all three Brk genes act in a common pathway in which each Brk gene has a distinct function. Recent work demonstrating a function for the mammalian homolog of BRK1 (HSPC300) in activation of Arp2/3-dependent actin polymerization implicates the Brk pathway in local regulation of actin polymerization in plant cells.

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