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Gallavotti, A, Barazesh S, Malcomber S, Hall D, Jackson D, Schmidt RJ, McSteen P.  2008.  Sparse Inflorescence1 Encodes a Monocot-specific YUCCA-like gene Required for Vegetative and Reproductive Development in Maize. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 105:15196-15201. Abstract
The plant growth hormone auxin plays a critical role in the initiation of lateral organs and meristems. Here, we identify and characterize a mutant, sparse inflorescence1 (spi1), which has defects in the initiation of axillary meristems and lateral organs during vegetative and inflorescence development in maize. Positional cloning shows that spi1 encodes a flavin monooxygenase similar to the YUCCA (YUC) genes of Arabidopsis, which are involved in local auxin biosynthesis in various plant tissues. In Arabidopsis, loss of function of single members of the YUC family has no obvious effect, but in maize the mutation of a single yuc locus causes severe developmental defects. Phylogenetic analysis of the different members of the YUC family in moss, monocot, and eudicot species shows that there have been independent expansions of the family in monocots and eudicots. spi1 belongs to a monocot-specific clade, within which the role of individual YUC genes has diversified. These observations, together with expression and functional data, suggest that spi1 has evolved a dominant role in auxin biosynthesis that is essential for normal maize inflorescence development. Analysis of the interaction between spi1 and genes regulating auxin transport indicate that auxin transport and biosynthesis function synergistically to regulate the formation of axillary meristems and lateral organs in maize.
Lee, B-ha, Johnston R, Yang Y, Gallavotti A, Kojima M, Travençolo BAN, da Costa LF, Sakakibara H, Jackson D.  2009.  Studies of Aberrant Phyllotaxy1 Mutants of Maize Indicate Complex Interactions Between Auxin and Cytokinin Signaling in the Shoot Apical Meristem. Plant Physiol. 150:205-216. Abstract
One of the most fascinating aspects of plant morphology is the regular geometric arrangement of leaves and flowers, called phyllotaxy. The shoot apical meristem (SAM) determines these patterns, which vary depending on species and developmental stage. Auxin acts as an instructive signal in leaf initiation, and its transport has been implicated in phyllotaxy regulation in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). Altered phyllotactic patterns are observed in a maize (Zea mays) mutant, aberrant phyllotaxy1 (abph1, also known as abphyl1), and ABPH1 encodes a cytokinin-inducible type A response regulator, suggesting that cytokinin signals are also involved in the mechanism by which phyllotactic patterns are established. Therefore, we investigated the interaction between auxin and cytokinin signaling in phyllotaxy. Treatment of maize shoots with a polar auxin transport inhibitor, 1-naphthylphthalamic acid, strongly reduced ABPH1 expression, suggesting that auxin or its polar transport is required for ABPH1 expression. Immunolocalization of the PINFORMED1 (PIN1) polar auxin transporter revealed that PIN1 expression marks leaf primordia in maize, similarly to Arabidopsis. Interestingly, maize PIN1 expression at the incipient leaf primordium was greatly reduced in abph1 mutants. Consistently, auxin levels were reduced in abph1, and the maize PIN1 homolog was induced not only by auxin but also by cytokinin treatments. Our results indicate distinct roles for ABPH1 as a negative regulator of SAM size and a positive regulator of PIN1 expression. These studies highlight a complex interaction between auxin and cytokinin signaling in the specification of phyllotactic patterns and suggest an alternative model for the generation of altered phyllotactic patterns in abph1 mutants. We propose that reduced auxin levels and PIN1 expression in abph1 mutant SAMs delay leaf initiation, contributing to the enlarged SAM and altered phyllotaxy of these mutants.