Flower and fruit development in Arabidopsis thaliana
Published: 1 August 2005
Pedro Robles1 and Soraya Pelaz*,2
1División de Genética and Instituto de Bioingeniería, Universidad Miguel Hernández, Campus de Elche, Elche, Alicante, Spain and 2ICREA and LGMV (Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats and Laboratori de Genètica Molecular Vegetal, CSIC-IRTA), Barcelona, Spain
The study of flower development has experienced great advances over the last 15 years. The most important landmark was the proposal of the ABC model in which three different functions of overlapping activities account for the development of the four rings of organs of the eudicot flower. Most interestingly, during recent years this simple and elegant model has been broadly accepted and is applicable to a wide range of plant species. However, recent advances in the characterization of protein interactions and the discovery of the SEPALLATA genes that are required for proper floral organ development have led to a revision of the ABC model. The largely accepted floral quartet model, which includes the new SEPALLATA function, postulates that the development of a specific floral organ is achieved by the formation of a single complex of different MADS-box proteins. The ultimate fate of the flower is to become a fruit, ensuring dispersal of the seeds and therefore survival of the species. The Arabidopsis fruit is a silique or pod. Only in the last five years important advances have been made in establishing the differentiation of the tissues required for the opening of the fruit: the valve margins and dehiscence zone. Classical genetic analyses and molecular biology approaches have pointed to the involvement of the transcription factors SHP, ALC and IND in the formation of these tissues and of FUL and RPL in repressing this identity in the bordering tissues, valves and replum, respectively.