The role of the ribosome in plant development

Lead Research Organisation: John Innes Centre
Department Name: Contracts Office

Abstract

Plant shoots are characterized by reiterative production of organs from an indeterminate shoot apical meristem. Early in development lateral organs, such as leaves, establish dorsoventral polarity. Outgrowth of the leaf lamina depends on signaling from the meristem as well as concerted interactions between adaxial (dorsal) and abaxial (ventral) domains of the leaf. We have found that mutations in a number of different ribosomal protein genes, designated PIGGYBACK, have specific requirements for leaf dorsoventral patterning and meristem function. We propose developmental phenotypes affected by mutations in pgy genes are due to changes in cellular ribosome function and that the ribosome can serve as a control point in expression of patterning genes. We propose several testable hypotheses for ribosome regulatory function. Firstly, ribosome target specificity may be mediated by interaction of the ribosome with extra-ribosomal proteins. Secondly, ribosomal proteins within a gene family may be distinct such that individual ribosomes are functionally distinct. Thirdly, specific sequence features of mRNA may determine sensitive to changes in ribosomes. We are useing biochemical and genetic approaches to address each of these possibilities. Through these studies we anticipate a greater understanding of ribosome function and translation as control points in plant development

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