MCYT DGI BMC2002-02840, 2002-2005

Principal Investigator: José Luis Micol.
Investigators: Víctor Quesada Pérez, Pedro Robles Ramos, José Manuel Pérez Pérez, Héctor Candela Antón, Sara Jover Gil, María Magdalena Alonso Peral y Rebeca González Bayón.
Instituto de Bioingeniería. Universidad Miguel Hernández.

Characterization of Arabidopsis thaliana genes involved in leaf development

The primary pathway for carbon and energy uptake by plants is the leaf, an organ of utmost importance to agriculture. Little is known, however, about the genetic controls that underlie leaf development, in spite of the fact that its biotechnological manipulation offers great potential. At the present time, the nature, action and interactions of most of the genes driving the sequence of developmental events that contribute to the making of a leaf remain to be unraveled.

We have previously performed a large-scale screen for mutations affecting leaf development and obtained a collection of mutants displaying leaves abnormally shaped and/or sized, which fell into 94 complementation groups. Some of these mutants were named incurvata (icu) because of their involute leaves, which deviate from the flatness that characterizes those of the wild type, a phenotype that can be regarded as a perturbation in the mechanisms coordinating the growth of the dorsal (adaxial) and ventral (abaxial) tissues of this organ.

We propose in this project the genetic and molecular analysis of four of the genes identified in our laboratory, ICU4, ICU8, ICU9 and ICU15, which are assumed to be functionally related based on the synergistic phenotypes of their double mutant combinations. These genes will be positionally cloned, the structural nature of their mutant alleles determined, their spatial and temporal expression patterns studied, their single and double mutant phenotypes characterized by scanning electron and light microscopy, the effects of their complete lack of function assayed by means of RNA interference, and the interactions between their protein products studied through two-hybrid procedures.