Meristem-localized inducible expression of a UDP-glycosyltransferase gene is essential for growth and development in pea and alfalfa

Ho Hyung Woo, Marc J. Orbach, Ann M. Hirsch, Martha C. Hawes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


PsUGT1, which encodes a microsomal UDP-glucuronosyltransferase, was cloned from root tips of Pisum sativum. PsUGT1 expression is correlated with mitosis and strongly induced in dividing cells. A region at the C terminus of the encoded protein is closely related to the UDP-glucuronic acid binding site consensus sequence, and the protein encoded by PsUGT1 catalyzes conjugation of UDP-glucuronic acid to an unknown compound. Overexpression of PsUGT1 sense mRNA has no detectable effect on transgenic pea hairy root cultures or regenerated alfalfa. However, inhibiting PsUGT1 expression by the constitutive expression of antisense mRNA (under the control of the cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter) markedly retards growth and development of transgenic alfalfa. Cell structure and organization in the antisense plants are similar to those of controls, but plant growth is reduced and development is delayed. This inhibition in growth is correlated with a twofold delay in the time required for completion of a cell cycle and with a >99% inhibition of border cell production. Inhibition of PsUGT1 expression by meristem-localized inducible expression of PsUGT1 antisense mRNA (under the control of its own promoter) is lethal both in pea hairy roots and in transgenic alfalfa plants. These results indicate that PsUGT1 expression is required for normal plant growth and development, and they are consistent with the hypothesis that this UDP-glycosyltransferase regulates activity of a ligand(s) needed for cell division.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2303-2315
Number of pages13
JournalPlant Cell
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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