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STUNTED Mediates The Control Of Cell Proliferation By GA In Arabidopsis

Li Yen Candy Lee, Xingliang Hou, Lei Fang, Shuguo Fan, Prakash P. Kumar, Hao Yu

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Gibberellins (GA) are an important family of plant growth regulators, which are essential for many aspects of plant growth and development. In the GA signaling pathway, the action of GA is opposed by a group of DELLA family repressors, such as RGA. Although the mechanisms of action of the DELLA proteins have been studied in great detail, the effectors that act downstream of DELLA proteins and bring about GA-responsive growth and development remain largely unknown. In this study, we have characterized STUNTED (STU), a receptor-like cytoplasmic kinase (RLCK) VI family gene, which is ubiquitously detectable in all the tissues examined. RGA activity and GA signaling specifically mediate the levels of STU transcripts in shoot apices that contain actively dividing cells. stu-1 loss-of-function mutants exhibit retarded growth in many aspects of plant development. During the vegetative phase, stu-1 seedlings develop smaller leaves and shorter roots than wild-type seedlings, while during the reproductive phase, stu-1 exhibits delayed floral transition and lower fertility. The reduced stature of stu-1 partly results from a reduction in cell proliferation. Furthermore, we present evidence that STU serves as an important regulator mediating the control of cell proliferation by GA possibly through two cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors, SIM and SMR1. Taken together, our results suggest that STU acts downstream of RGA and promotes cell proliferation in the GA pathway.