In Arabidopsis thaliana, mutations in genes encoding ribosomal proteins (r-proteins) perturb various developmental processes. Whether these perturbations are caused by overall ribosome insufficiency or partial dysfunction of the ribosome caused by deficiency of a particular ribosomal protein is not known. To distinguish these possibilities, a comparative study using several r-protein mutants was required. Here, we identified mutations in 11 r-protein genes from previously isolated denticulata and pointed-leaves mutants. Most of these mutations were associated with pointed leaves, with reduced growth due to a decrease in the number or size of palisade mesophyll and pavement cells. In addition, leaf abaxialization was usually observed when these r-protein mutations were combined with asymmetric leaves1 (as1) and as2 mutations. These results suggest that the establishment of leaf polarity is highly sensitive to ribosome functionality in general. However, several r-protein mutants showed a preference towards a specific developmental defect. For example, rpl4d mutations did not affect cell proliferation but caused strong abaxialization of leaves in the as1 and as2 backgrounds. On the other hand, rps28b enhanced leaf abaxialization of as2 to a weaker extent than expected on the basis of its negative effect on cell proliferation. In addition, hypomorphic rps6a alleles had the strongest effects on most of the phenotypes examined. These findings suggest that deficiencies in these three r-protein genes lead to production of dysfunctional ribosomes. Depending on their structural abnormalities, dysfunctional ribosomes may affect translation of specific transcripts involved in the regulation of some leaf developmental processes.
© 2011 The Authors. The Plant Journal © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.