ANTHER INDEHISCENCE FACTOR (AIF), a NAC-like gene, was identified in Arabidopsis. In AIF:GUS flowers, β-glucuronidase (GUS) activity was detected in the anther, the upper parts of the filaments, and in the pollen of stage 7-9 young flower buds; GUS activity was reduced in mature flowers. Yellow fluorescent protein (YFP)+AIF-C fusion proteins, which lacked a transmembrane domain, accumulated in the nuclei of the Arabidopsis cells, whereas the YFP+AIF fusion proteins accumulated in the membrane and were absent in the nuclei. Further detection of a cleaved AIF protein in flowers revealed that AIF needs to be processed and released from the endoplasmic reticulum in order to function. The ectopic expression of AIF-C caused a male-sterile phenotype with indehiscent anthers throughout flower development in Arabidopsis. The presence of a repressor domain in AIF and the similar phenotype of indehiscent anthers in AIF-C+SRDX plants suggest that AIF acts as a repressor. The defect in anther dehiscence was due to the down-regulation of genes that participate in jasmonic acid (JA) biosynthesis, such as DAD1/AOS/AOC3/OPR3/OPCL1. The external application of JA rescued the anther indehiscence in AIF-C and AIF-C+SRDX flowers. In AIF-C+VP16 plants, which are transgenic dominant-negative mutants in which AIF is converted to a potent activator via fusion to a VP16-AD motif, the anther dehiscence was promoted, and the expression of DAD1/AOS/AOC3/OPR3/OPCL1 was up-regulated. Furthermore, the suppression of AIF through an antisense strategy resulted in a mutant phenotype similar to that observed in the AIF-C+VP16 flowers. The present data suggest a role for AIF in controlling anther dehiscence by suppressing the expression of JA biosynthesis genes in Arabidopsis.
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