Fruit development is actively restricted in the absence of fertilization in Arabidopsis

Development. 2001 Jun;128(12):2321-31.


Flowering plants usually require fertilization to form fruit and seed and to initiate floral organ abscission in structures that do not contribute to the fruit. An Arabidopsis mutant that initiates seedless fruit without fertilization (fwf) or parthenocarpy was isolated and characterized to understand the factors regulating the transition between the mature flower and the initiation of seed and fruit development. The fwf mutant is fertile and has normal plant growth and stature. It sets fertile seed following self-pollination and fertilization needs to be prevented to observe parthenocarpy. The initiation of parthenocarpic siliques (fruit) was found to be dependent upon carpel valve identity conferred by FRUITFULL but was independent of the perception of gibberellic acid, shown to stimulate parthenocarpy in Arabidopsis following exogenous application. The recessive nature of fwf is consistent with the involvement of FWF in processes that inhibit fruit growth and differentiation in the absence of fertilization. The enhanced cell division and expansion in the silique mesocarp layer, and increased lateral vascular bundle development imply FWF has roles also in modulating silique growth post-fertilization. Parthenocarpy was inhibited by the presence of other floral organs suggesting that both functional FWF activity and inter-organ communication act in concert to prevent fruit initiation in the absence of fertilization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / physiology*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins*
  • Cell Division
  • Fruit / growth & development*
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Plant Proteins / physiology


  • ATS proteins, Arabidopsis
  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • GAI protein, Arabidopsis
  • Plant Proteins