Loss of 26S proteasome function leads to increased cell size and decreased cell number in Arabidopsis shoot organs

Plant Physiol. 2009 May;150(1):178-89. doi: 10.1104/pp.109.135970. Epub 2009 Mar 25.


Although the final size of plant organs is influenced by environmental cues, it is generally accepted that the primary size determinants are intrinsic factors that regulate and coordinate cell proliferation and cell expansion. Here, we show that optimal proteasome function is required to maintain final shoot organ size in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). Loss of function of the subunit regulatory particle AAA ATPase (RPT2a) causes a weak defect in 26S proteasome activity and leads to an enlargement of leaves, stems, flowers, fruits, seeds, and embryos. These size increases are a result of increased cell expansion that compensates for a reduction in cell number. Increased ploidy levels were found in some but not all enlarged organs, indicating that the cell size increases are not caused by a higher nuclear DNA content. Partial loss of function of the regulatory particle non-ATPase (RPN) subunits RPN10 and RPN12a causes a stronger defect in proteasome function and also results in cell enlargement and decreased cell proliferation. However, the increased cell volumes in rpn10-1 and rpn12a-1 mutants translated into the enlargement of only some, but not all, shoot organs. Collectively, these data show that during Arabidopsis shoot development, the maintenance of optimal proteasome activity levels is important for balancing cell expansion with cell proliferation rates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / cytology
  • Arabidopsis / enzymology
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / physiology*
  • Cell Proliferation*
  • Cell Size*
  • Cotyledon / genetics
  • Cotyledon / growth & development
  • Cotyledon / physiology
  • Mutation
  • Plant Shoots / cytology
  • Plant Shoots / genetics
  • Plant Shoots / physiology
  • Polyploidy
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex / physiology*


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • RPT2a protein, Arabidopsis
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex
  • ATP dependent 26S protease