The OCL3 promoter from Sorghum bicolor directs gene expression to abscission and nutrient-transfer zones at the bases of floral organs.

Annals of botany

PubMedID: 25081518

Dwivedi KK, Roche DJ, Clemente TE, Ge Z, Carman JG. The OCL3 promoter from Sorghum bicolor directs gene expression to abscission and nutrient-transfer zones at the bases of floral organs. Ann Bot. 2014;.
BACKGROUND AND AIMS
During seed fill in cereals, nutrients are symplasmically unloaded to vascular parenchyma in ovules, but thereafter nutrient transport is less certain. In Zea mays, two mechanisms of nutrient passage through the chalaza and nucellus have been hypothesized, apoplasmic and symplasmic. In a recent study, nutrients first passed non-selectively to the chalazal apoplasm and were then selectively absorbed by the nucellus before being released to the endosperm apoplasm. This study reports that the promoter of OUTER CELL LAYER3 (PSbOCL3) from Sorghum bicolor (sorghum) directs gene expression to chalazal cells where the apoplasmic barrier is thought to form. The aims were to elucidate PSbOCL3 expression patterns in sorghum and relate them to processes of nutrient pathway development in kernels and to recognized functions of the homeodomain-leucine zipper (HD-Zip) IV transcription factor family to which the promoter belongs.

METHODS
PSbOCL3 was cloned and transformed into sorghum as a promoter-GUS (ß-glucuronidase) construct. Plant tissues from control and transformed plants were then stained for GUS, and kernels were cleared and characterized using differential interference contrast microscopy.

KEY RESULTS
A symplasmic disconnect between the chalaza and nucellus during seed fill is inferred by the combination of two phenomena: differentiation of a distinct nucellar epidermis adjacent to the chalaza, and lysis of GUS-stained chalazal cells immediately proximal to the nucellar epidermis. Compression of the GUS-stained chalazal cells during kernel maturation produced the kernel abscission zone (closing layer).

CONCLUSIONS
The results suggest that the HD-Zip IV transcription factor SbOCL3 regulates kernel nutrition and abscission. The latter is consistent with evidence that members of this transcription factor group regulate silique abscission and dehiscence in Arabidopsis thaliana. Collectively, the findings suggest that processes of floral organ abscission are conserved among angiosperms and may in some respects differ from processes of leaf abscission.