Seed dispersal is an essential trait that enables colonization of new favorable habitats, ensuring species survival. In plants with dehiscent fruits, such as Arabidopsis, seed dispersal depends on two processes: the separation of the fruit valves that protect the seeds (fruit dehiscence), and the detachment of the seeds from the funiculus connecting them to the mother plant (seed abscission). The key factors required to establish a proper lignin pattern for fruit dehiscence are SHATTERPROOF1 and 2 (SHP1and SHP2). In this work we demonstrate that the SHPs closely related gene SEEDSTICK (STK) is a key factor required to establish the proper lignin pattern in the seed abscission zone but in an opposite way. We show that STK acts as a repressor of lignin deposition in the seed abscission zone through the direct repression of HECATE3 while the SHPs promote lignin deposition in the valve margins by the activation of INDEHISCENT. The interactions of STK with the SEUSS co-repressor determine the difference in the way STK and SHPs control the lignification patterns.
Despite this difference in the molecular control of lignification during seed abscission and fruit dehiscence, we show that the genetic networks regulating these two developmental pathways are highly conserved.
- Received January 14, 2016.
- Accepted August 2, 2016.