Balanced development of adaxial and abaxial domains in leaf primordia is critical for the formation of flat symmetric leaf lamina. Arabidopsis ASYMMETRIC LEAVES1 (AS1) and AS2 proteins form a complex (AS1-AS2), which acts as key regulators for the adaxial development by the direct repression of expression of the abaxial gene ETTIN/AUXIN RESPONSE FACTOR3 (ETT/ARF3). Many modifier mutations have been identified, which enhance the defect of as1 and as2 mutations to generate abaxialized filamentous leaves without adaxial traits, suggesting that the development of the adaxial domain is achieved by cooperative repression by AS1-AS2 and the wild-type proteins corresponding to the modifiers. Mutations of several genes for DNA replication-related chromatin remodeling factors such as Chromatin Assembly Factor-1 (CAF-1) have been also identified as modifiers. It is still unknown, however, whether mutations in genes involved in DNA replication themselves might act as modifiers. Here we report that as1 and as2 mutants grown in the presence of hydroxyurea, a known inhibitor of DNA replication, form abaxialized filamentous leaves in a concentration-dependent manner. We further show that a mutation of the INCURVATA2 (ICU2) gene, which encodes the putative catalytic subunit of DNA polymerase α, and a mutation of the Replication Factor C Subunit3 (RFC3) gene, which encodes a protein used in replication as a clamp loader, act as modifiers. In addition, as2-1 icu2-1 double mutants showed increased mRNA levels of the genes for leaf abaxialization. These results suggest a tight link between DNA replication and the function of AS1-AS2 in the development of flat leaves.
Keywords: ASYMMETRIC LEAVES2; DNA replication; ICU2; RFC3; leaf development.
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