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The Embryo MADS Domain Factor AGL15 Acts Postembryonically: Inhibition of Perianth Senescence and Abscission via Constitutive Expression

  • Donna E. Fernandez
  • Gregory R. Heck
  • Sharyn E. Perry
  • Sara E. Patterson
  • Anthony B. Bleecker
  • Su-Chiung Fang
American Society of Plant Physiologists
Publication Date
Feb 01, 2000
  • Biology
  • Chemistry


AGL15 (AGAMOUS-like 15), a member of the MADS domain family of regulatory factors, accumulates preferentially throughout the early stages of the plant life cycle. In this study, we investigated the expression pattern and possible roles of postembryonic accumulation of AGL15. Using a combination of reporter genes, RNA gel blot analysis, and immunochemistry, we found that the AGL15 protein accumulates transiently in the shoot apex in young Arabidopsis and Brassica seedlings and that promoter activity is associated with the shoot apex and the base of leaf petioles throughout the vegetative phase. During the reproductive phase, AGL15 accumulates transiently in floral buds. When AGL15 was expressed in Arabidopsis under the control of a strong constitutive promoter, we noted a striking increase in the longevity of the sepals and petals as well as delays in a selected set of age-dependent developmental processes, including the transition to flowering and fruit maturation. Although ethylene has been implicated in many of these same processes, the effects of AGL15 could be clearly distinguished from the effects of the ethylene resistant1-1 mutation, which confers dominant insensitivity to ethylene. By comparing the petal breakstrength (the force needed to remove petals) for flowers of different ages, we determined that ectopic AGL15 had a novel effect: the breakstrength of petals initially declined, as occurs in the wild type, but was then maintained at an intermediate value over a prolonged period. Abscission-associated gene expression and structural changes were also altered in the presence of ectopic AGL15.

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