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Fused organs in the adherent1 mutation in maize show altered epidermal walls with no perturbations in tissue identities

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In the absence of wounding, the epidermis is only rarely involved in cell or organ fusion events; in fact, intact epidermal layers prevent graft unions. In Zea mays L. the mutation adherent1 (ad1) shows abnormal fusions between cells and organs. Fusions involve epidermal cells of vegetative and floral organs and occur early in the ontogeny of organs. Even so, epidermal cell types differentiate normally in the fused regions and internal tissue identities are maintained. In contrast, the extracellular matrix (cell wall and cuticle) of the epidermal cells is perturbed. Epidermal cell walls in adherent leaves are thicker than normal. Epicuticular wax particles appear reduced in size and number and altered in shape in mutant leaves. In addition, the outer epidermal cell walls of adherent leaves fluoresce when stained with aniline blue, a reagent that binds to callose. Immunolocalizations to specific cell wall epitopes suggest that pectins but not arabinogalactans may have a role in the fusion events. Taken together, these results suggest that the ad1 mutation results in cell-wall and epicuticular-wax defects similar to responses seen in wounding, pollination by incompatible pollen, or pathogen attack. Since cell wall components and epicuticular waxes are extracellular secreted products, the ad1 mutation may disrupt normal functioning and/or composition of the secretory pathway and its cargo.

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Received: 30 January 1998 / Accepted: 5 March 1998

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Sinha, N., Lynch, M. Fused organs in the adherent1 mutation in maize show altered epidermal walls with no perturbations in tissue identities. Planta 206, 184–195 (1998).

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  • Key words:adherent1
  • Cell wall
  • Epicuticular wax
  • Zea (ad1 mutation)