Homeotic transformation of ovules into carpel-like structures in arabidopsis

Zora Modrusan, Leonore Reiser, Kenneth A. Feldmann, Robert L. Fischer, George W. Haughn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

189 Scopus citations


Ovules are specialized reproductive organs that develop within the carpels of higher plants. In Arabidopsis, mutations in two genes, BELL1 (BEL1) and APETALA2 (AP2), disrupt ovule development. In Bel1 ovules, the inner integument fails to form, the outer integument develops abnormally, and the embryo sac arrests at a late stage of megagametogenesis. During later stages of ovule development, cells of the outer integument of a Bel1 ovule sometimes develop into a carpel-like structure with stigmatic papillae and second-order ovules. The frequency of carpel-like structures was highest when plants were grown under conditions that normally induced flowering and was correlated with ectopic expression in the ovule of AGAMOUS (AG), an organ-identity gene required for carpel formation. Together, these results suggested that BEL1 negatively regulates AG late in ovule development. Likewise, mutants homozygous for the strong AP2 allele ap2-6 sometimes displayed structures with carpel-like features in place of ovules. However, such abnormal Ap2 ovules are much less ovulelike in morphology and form earlier than the Bel1 carpel-like structures. Because one role of the AP2 gene is to negatively regulate AG expression early in flower development, it is possible that AP2 works in a similar manner in the ovule. A novel ovule phenotype observed in Bel1/Ap2-6 double mutants suggested that BEL1 and AP2 genes function independently during ovule development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-349
Number of pages17
JournalPlant Cell
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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