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Complexes of D-type cyclins with CDKs during maize germination

Journal of Experimental Botany
Oxford University Press
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1093/jxb/ert340
  • Research Paper
  • Biology


The importance of cell proliferation in plant growth and development has been well documented. The majority of studies on basic cell cycle mechanisms in plants have been at the level of gene expression and much less knowledge has accumulated in terms of protein interactions and activation. Two key proteins, cyclins and cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) are fundamental for cell cycle regulation and advancement. Our aim has been to understand the role of D-type cyclins and type A and B CDKs in the cell cycle taking place during a developmental process such as maize seed germination. Results indicate that three maize D-type cyclins—D2;2, D4;2, and D5;3—(G1-S cyclins by definition) bind and activate two different types of CDK—A and B1;1—in a differential way during germination. Whereas CDKA–D-type cyclin complexes are more active at early germination times than at later times, it was surprising to observe that CDKB1;1, a supposedly G2-M kinase, bound in a differential way to all D-type cyclins tested during germination. Binding to cyclin D2;2 was detectable at all germination times, forming a complex with kinase activity, whereas binding to D4;2 and D5;3 was more variable; in particular, D5;3 was only detected at late germination times. Results are discussed in terms of cell cycle advancement and its importance for seed germination.

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