Identification of Arabidopsis meiotic cyclins reveals functional diversification among plant cyclin genes

PLoS Genet. 2013 May;9(5):e1003508. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003508. Epub 2013 May 9.


Meiosis is a modified cell division in which a single S-phase is followed by two rounds of chromosome segregation resulting in the production of haploid gametes. The meiotic mode of chromosome segregation requires extensive remodeling of the basic cell cycle machinery and employment of unique regulatory mechanisms. Cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) and cyclins represent an ancient molecular module that drives and regulates cell cycle progression. The cyclin gene family has undergone a massive expansion in angiosperm plants, but only a few cyclins were thoroughly characterized. In this study we performed a systematic immunolocalization screen to identify Arabidopsis thaliana A- and B-type cyclins expressed in meiosis. Many of these cyclins exhibit cell-type-specific expression in vegetative tissues and distinct subcellular localization. We found six A-type cyclins and a single B-type cyclin (CYCB3;1) to be expressed in male meiosis. Mutant analysis revealed that these cyclins contribute to distinct meiosis-related processes. While A2 cyclins are important for chromosome segregation, CYCB3;1 prevents ectopic cell wall formation. We further show that cyclin SDS does not contain a D-box and is constitutively expressed throughout meiosis. Analysis of plants carrying cyclin SDS with an introduced D-box motif determined that, in addition to its function in recombination, SDS acts together with CYCB3;1 in suppressing unscheduled cell wall synthesis. Our phenotypic and expression data provide extensive evidence that multiplication of cyclins is in plants accompanied by functional diversification.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics*
  • Cell Wall* / genetics
  • Cell Wall* / physiology
  • Chromosome Segregation / genetics
  • Cyclin A / genetics*
  • Cyclin B / genetics*
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases / genetics
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases / metabolism
  • Cyclins / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Meiosis / genetics*
  • Organ Specificity
  • Recombination, Genetic / genetics


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • CYCB3;1 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Cyclin A
  • Cyclin B
  • Cyclins
  • cyclin SDS protein, Arabidopsis
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases