Polyadenylation of pre-mRNAs by poly(A) polymerase (PAPS) is a critical process in eukaryotic gene expression. As found in vertebrates, plant genomes encode several isoforms of canonical nuclear PAPS enzymes. In Arabidopsis thaliana these isoforms are functionally specialized, with PAPS1 affecting both organ growth and immune response, at least in part by the preferential polyadenylation of subsets of pre-mRNAs. Here, we demonstrate that the opposite effects of PAPS1 on leaf and flower growth reflect the different identities of these organs, and identify a role for PAPS1 in the elusive connection between organ identity and growth patterns. The overgrowth of paps1 mutant petals is due to increased recruitment of founder cells into early organ primordia, and suggests that PAPS1 activity plays unique roles in influencing organ growth. By contrast, the leaf phenotype of paps1 mutants is dominated by a constitutive immune response that leads to increased resistance to the biotrophic oomycete Hyaloperonospora arabidopsidis and reflects activation of the salicylic acid-independent signalling pathway downstream of ENHANCED DISEASE SUSCEPTIBILITY1 (EDS1)/PHYTOALEXIN DEFICIENT4 (PAD4). These findings provide an insight into the developmental and physiological basis of the functional specialization amongst plant PAPS isoforms.
Keywords: founder-cell recruitment; organ growth; poly(A) polymerase; polyadenylation.
© 2013 The Authors The Plant Journal © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.