Conservation and divergence of ASK1 and ASK2 gene functions during male meiosis in Arabidopsis thaliana

Plant Mol Biol. 2003 Sep;53(1-2):163-73. doi: 10.1023/B:PLAN.0000009273.81702.b5.


Selective proteolysis of regulatory proteins mediated by the ubiquitin pathway is an important mechanism for controlling many biological events. The SCF (Skpl-Cullin-F-box protein) class of E3 ubiquitin ligases controls the ubiquitination of a wide variety of substrates, thereby mediating their degradation by the 26S proteasome. The Arabidopsis genome contains 21 genes encoding Skp1-like proteins that are named as ASKs (Arabidopsis Skp1-like). So far, only the ASK1 gene has been characterized genetically, and is known to be required for male meiosis, flower development, and auxin response. The ASK2 gene is most similar to ASK1 in terms of both the amino acid sequence and expression pattern. To compare ASK2 with ASK1 functionally in male meiosis, different transgenic lines over-expressing ASK1 and ASK2 were tested for their ability to complement the male meiosis defect of the ask1-1 mutant. The genomic ASK1 rescued the ask1-1 mutant defects. The 35S::ASK1 transgene restored male fertility to the ask1-1 mutant, although the percentages of normal pollen grains and tetrads were reduced. 35S::ASK2 lines in the ask1-1 background exhibited partial fertility with even fewer normal pollen grains and tetrads than those of the 35S::ASK1 lines. Detailed analysis of chromosome behavior during male meiosis demonstrated that 35S::ASK1 and 35S::ASK2 lines had different fractions of pollen mother cells undergoing normal meiosis. Our results suggest that ASK2 partially substitutes for ASK1 if expressed at higher than normal levels.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / physiology
  • Fertility / genetics
  • Meiosis / genetics*
  • Mutation
  • Phenotype
  • Plant Proteins / genetics*
  • Plant Proteins / physiology
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Pollen / genetics*
  • Pollen / growth & development
  • SKP Cullin F-Box Protein Ligases


  • ASK1 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Plant Proteins
  • ASK2 protein, Arabidopsis
  • SKP Cullin F-Box Protein Ligases