An EAR-dependent regulatory module promotes male germ cell division and sperm fertility in Arabidopsis

Michael Borg, Nicholas Rutley, Sateesh Kagale, Yuki Hamamura, Mihai Gherghinoiu, Sanjeev Kumar, Ugur Sari, Manuel A. Esparza-Franco, Wataru Sakamoto, Kevin Rozwadowski, Tetsuya Higashiyama, David Twell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


The production of the sperm cells in angiosperms requires coordination of cell division and cell differentiation. In Arabidopsis thaliana, the germline-specific MYB protein DUO1 integrates these processes, but the regulatory hierarchy in which DUO1 functions is unknown. Here, we identify an essential role for two germline-specific DUO1 target genes, DAZ1 and DAZ2, which encode EAR motif-containing C2H2-type zinc finger proteins. We show that DAZ1/DAZ2 are required for germ cell division and for the proper accumulation of mitotic cyclins. Importantly, DAZ1/DAZ2 are sufficient to promote G2- to M-phase transition and germ cell division in the absence of DUO1. DAZ1/DAZ2 are also required for DUO1-dependent cell differentiation and are essential for gamete fusion at fertilization. We demonstrate that the two EAR motifs in DAZ1/DAZ2 mediate their function in the male germline and are required for transcriptional repression and for physical interaction with the corepressor TOPLESS. Our findings uncover an essential module in a regulatory hierarchy that drives mitotic transition in male germ cells and implicates gene repression pathways in sperm cell formation and fertility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2098-2113
Number of pages16
JournalPlant Cell
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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