Wax constituents on the inflorescence stems of double eceriferum mutants in Arabidopsis reveal complex gene interactions

S. Mark Goodwin, Aaron M. Rashotte, Musrur Rahman, Kenneth A. Feldmann, Matthew A. Jenks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


To shed new light on gene involvement in plant cuticular-wax production, 11 eceriferum (cer) mutants of Arabidopsis having dramatic alterations in wax composition of inflorescence stems were used to create 14 double cer mutants each with two homozygous recessive cer loci. A comprehensive analysis of stem waxes on these double mutants revealed unexpected CER gene interactions and new ideas about individual CER gene functions. Five of the 14 double cer mutants produced significantly more total wax than one of their respective cer parents, indicating from a genetic standpoint a partial bypassing (or complementation) of one cer mutation by the other. Eight of the 14 double cer mutants had alkane amounts lower than both respective cer parents, suggesting that most of these CER gene products play a major additive role in alkane synthesis. Other results suggested that some CER genes function in more than one step of the wax pathway, including those associated with sequential steps in acyl-CoA elongation. Surprisingly, complete epistasis was not observed for any of the cer gene combinations tested. Significant overlap or redundancy of genetic operations thus appears to be a central feature of wax metabolism. Future studies of CER gene product function, as well as the utilization of CER genes for crop improvement, must now account for the complex gene interactions described here.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)771-780
Number of pages10
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 2005


  • Arabidopsis
  • Biochemical-genetic
  • Cruciferae
  • Cuticular wax
  • Double mutant
  • Eceriferum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Plant Science
  • Horticulture


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