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SLOW WALKER3, encoding a putative DEAD-box RNA helicase, is essential for female gametogenesis in Arabidopsis.

Liu M., Shi D.Q., Yuan L., Liu J., Yang W.C.

RNA helicases are adenosine tri-phosphatases that unwind the secondary structures of RNAs and are required in almost any aspect of RNA metabolism. They are highly conserved from prokaryotic to eukaryotic organisms. However, their precise roles in plant physiology and development remain to be clarified. Here we report that the mutation in the gene SLOW WALKER3 (SWA3) results in the slow and retarded progression of mitosis during megagametogenesis in Arabidopsis. SWA3 is a putative RNA helicase of the DEAD-box subfamily. Mutant megagametophyte development is arrested at four- or eight-nucleate stages, furthermore, one of the synergids in about half of the mutant embryo sacs displays abnormal polarity, with its nucleus locating at the chalazal end, instead of the micropylar end in the wild-type. Transmission of the mutation through female gametophytes is severely reduced in swa3. However, a small portion of mutant embryo sacs are able to develop into mature and functional female gametophytes when pollination was postponed. The SWA3 in Arabidopsis is a homolog of Dbp8 in yeast. Dbp8 interacts with Efs2 and is essential for biogenesis of 18S rRNA in yeast. Our data suggest that SWA3 may form a complex with AtEfs2 and take roles in ribosomal biogenesis as RNA helicase during megagametogenesis in Arabidopsis.

J Integr Plant Biol 52:817-828(2010) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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