The developmental gene Knotted-1 is a member of a maize homeobox gene family

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Abstract

THE Knotted-1 (Kn1) locus is defined by several dominant gain-of-function mutations that alter leaf development. Foci of cells along the lateral veins do not differentiate properly, but continue to divide, forming outpocketings or knots. The ligule, a fringe normally found at the junction of leaf blade and sheath, is often displaced and perpendicular to its normal position1–3. The phenotype is manifested in all cell layers of the leaf blade, but is controlled by a subgroup of cells of the inner layer4. Mutations result from the insertion of transposable elements5 or a tandem duplication6. We show that the Kn1 gene encodes a homeodomain-containing protein, the first identified in the plant kingdom. Sequence comparisons strongly suggest that Kn1 acts as a transcription factor. Here we use the Kn1 homeobox to isolate other expressed homeobox genes in maize. The Kn1 homeobox may permit the isolation of genes that, like animal and fungal counter-parts7, regulate cell fate determination.

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Vollbrecht, E., Veit, B., Sinha, N. et al. The developmental gene Knotted-1 is a member of a maize homeobox gene family. Nature 350, 241–243 (1991) doi:10.1038/350241a0

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