The Arabidopsis gene PEPINO/PASTICCINO2 is required for proliferation control of meristematic and non-meristematic cells and encodes a putative anti-phosphatase

Dev Genes Evol. 2002 Dec;212(11):542-50. doi: 10.1007/s00427-002-0273-9. Epub 2002 Oct 8.


Growth in organisms requires that cell division versus differentiation are precisely controlled and that cells, once differentiated, do not resume proliferation activity. Mutants of the Arabidopsis gene PEPINO/PASTICCINO2 develop abnormal shoot phenotypes from slow tumour-like cell proliferation. Abnormal proliferation is enhanced in a mutant background, which elevates endogenous cytokinin levels as seen in double mutants of pepino and altered meristem primordia1. The enlarged shoot apical meristem produces supernumerary abnormal leaves. However, comparison of expression patterns of Cyclin1At and the homeobox gene KNAT2 indicates that PEPINO ( PEP) is involved in cell cycle regulation of meristematic and non-meristematic cells. PEP encodes a putative anti-phosphatase, a representative of an enigmatic class of proteins, which might participate in proliferation processes. In mammals at least two proteins, Sbf1 and STYX, have been predicted to represent functional anti-phosphatases controlling cell proliferation. However, the in vivo function of this class of molecules is not known since no loss-of-function mutants have been reported to date. Anti-phosphatases display a natural change of the essential cysteine by glycine in the phosphatase catalytic signature motif HCxxGxxR(S/T). The remaining motif harbours highly conserved amino acid residues and is thought to constitute a pocket that enables such proteins to bind but not catalyse phosphorylated residues. One of the sequenced mutations in PEP indicates that the integrity of this anti-phosphatase signature motif is essential for function. The analysis of pepino, the first known loss-of-function mutant of an anti-phosphatase in a multicellular organism, proves the biological significance of these molecules.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Arabidopsis / cytology
  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / chemistry
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics*
  • Cell Division
  • Conserved Sequence
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / metabolism
  • Genes, Plant
  • Meristem / cytology
  • Meristem / growth & development
  • Meristem / physiology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phosphoric Monoester Hydrolases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • PEPINO protein, Arabidopsis
  • Phosphoric Monoester Hydrolases

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AJ506746