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1.  Gene dosage effect of WEE1 on growth and morphogenesis from arabidopsis hypocotyl explants 
Annals of Botany  2012;110(8):1631-1639.
Background and Aims
How plant cell-cycle genes interface with development is unclear. Preliminary evidence from our laboratory suggested that over-expression of the cell cycle checkpoint gene, WEE1, repressed growth and development. Here the hypothesis is tested that the level of WEE1 has a dosage effect on growth and development in Arabidospis thaliana. To do this, a comparison was made of the development of gain- and loss-of-function WEE1 arabidopsis lines both in vivo and in vitro.
Hypocotyl explants from an over-expressing Arath;WEE1 line (WEE1oe), two T-DNA insertion lines (wee1-1 and wee1-4) and wild type (WT) were cultured on two-way combinations of kinetin and naphthyl acetic acid. Root growth and meristematic cell size were also examined.
Key Results
Quantitative data indicated a repressive effect in WEE1oe and a significant increase in morphogenetic capacity in the two T-DNA insertion lines compared with WT. Compared with WT, WEE1oe seedlings exhibited a slower cell-doubling time in the root apical meristem and a shortened primary root, with fewer laterals, whereas there were no consistent differences in the insertion lines compared with WT. However, significantly fewer adventitious roots were recorded for WEE1oe and significantly more for the insertion mutant wee1-1. Compared with WT there was a significant increase in meristem cell size in WEE1oe for all three ground tissues but for wee1-1 only cortical cell size was reduced.
There is a gene dosage effect of WEE1 on morphogenesis from hypocotyls both in vitro and in vivo.
PMCID: PMC3503502  PMID: 23065633
Arabidopsis thaliana; cell cycle; development; growth; hypocotyl; tissue culture; WEE1
2.  Differential spatial expression of A- and B-type CDKs, and distribution of auxins and cytokinins in the open transverse root apical meristem of Cucurbita maxima 
Annals of Botany  2010;107(7):1223-1234.
Background and Aims
Aside from those on Arabidopsis, very few studies have focused on spatial expression of cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) in root apical meristems (RAMs), and, indeed, none has been undertaken for open meristems. The extent of interfacing between cell cycle genes and plant growth regulators is also an increasingly important issue in plant cell cycle studies. Here spatial expression/localization of an A-type and B-type CDK, auxin and cytokinins are reported in relation to the hitherto unexplored anatomy of RAMs of Cucurbita maxima.
Median longitudinal sections were cut from 1-cm-long primary root tips of C. maxima. Full-length A-type CDKs and a B-type CDK were cloned from C. maxima using degenerate primers, probes of which were localized on sections of RAMs using in situ hybridization. Isopentenyladenine (iPA), trans-zeatin (t-Z) and indole-3yl-acetic acid (IAA) were identified on sections by immunolocalization.
Key Results
The C. cucurbita RAM conformed to an open transverse (OT) meristem typified by an absence of a clear boundary between the eumeristem and root cap columella, but with a distinctive longitudinally thickened epidermis. Cucma;CDKA;1 expression was detected strongly in the longitudinally thickened epidermis, a tissue with mitotic competence that contributes cells radially to the root cap of OT meristems. Cucma;CDKB2 was expressed mainly in proliferative regions of the RAM and in lateral root primordia. iPA and t-Z were mainly distributed in differentiated cells whilst IAA was distributed more uniformly in all tissues of the RAM.
Cucma;CDKA;1 was expressed most strongly in cells that have proliferative competence whereas Cucma;CDKB2 was confined mainly to mitotic cells. iPA and t-Z marked differentiated cells in the RAM, consistent with the known effect of cytokinins in promoting differentiation in root systems. iPA/t-Z were distributed in a converse pattern to Cucma;CDKB2 expression whereas IAA was detected in most cells in the RAM regardless of their proliferative potential.
PMCID: PMC3091794  PMID: 20601387
Auxin; cytokinins; CDKs; Cucurbita maxima; root apical meristems
3.  Arabidopsis T-DNA insertional lines for CDC25 are hypersensitive to hydroxyurea but not to zeocin or salt stress 
Annals of Botany  2010;107(7):1183-1192.
Background and Aims
In yeasts and animals, cyclin-dependent kinases are key regulators of cell cycle progression and are negatively and positively regulated by WEE1 kinase and CDC25 phosphatase, respectively. In higher plants a full-length orthologue of CDC25 has not been isolated but a shorter gene with homology only to the C-terminal catalytic domain is present. The Arabidopis thaliana;CDC25 can act as a phosphatase in vitro. Since in arabidopsis, WEE1 plays an important role in the DNA damage/DNA replication checkpoints, the role of Arath;CDC25 in conditions that induce these checkpoints or induce abiotic stress was tested.
arath;cdc25 T-DNA insertion lines, Arath;CDC25 over-expressing lines and wild type were challenged with hydroxyurea (HU) and zeocin, substances that stall DNA replication and damage DNA, respectively, together with an abiotic stressor, NaCl. A molecular and phenotypic assessment was made of all genotypes
Key Results
There was a null phenotypic response to perturbation of Arath;CDC25 expression under control conditions. However, compared with wild type, the arath;cdc25 T-DNA insertion lines were hypersensitive to HU, whereas the Arath;CDC25 over-expressing lines were relatively insensitive. In particular, the over-expressing lines consistently outgrew the T-DNA insertion lines and wild type when challenged with HU. All genotypes were equally sensitive to zeocin and NaCl.
Arath;CDC25 plays a role in overcoming stress imposed by HU, an agent know to induce the DNA replication checkpoint in arabidopsis. However, it could not enhance tolerance to either a zeocin treatment, known to induce DNA damage, or salinity stress.
PMCID: PMC3091795  PMID: 20647223
Arabidopsis thaliana; cell-cycle checkpoints; hydroxyurea; root growth; NaCl; zeocin
4.  A commentary on the G2/M transition of the plant cell cycle 
Annals of Botany  2011;107(7):1065-1070.
The complex events of mitosis rely on precise timing and on immaculate preparation for their success, but the G2/M transition in the plant cell cycle is currently steeped in controversy and alternative models.
In this brief review, the regulation of the G2/M transition in plants is commented on. The extent to which the G2/M transition is phosphoregulated by WEE1 kinase and CDC25 phosphatase, as exemplified in yeasts and animals, is discussed together with an alternative model that excludes these proteins from this transition. Arabidopsis T-DNA insertional lines for WEE1 and CDC25 that develop normally prompted the latter model. An argument is then presented that environmental stress is the norm for higher plants in temperate conditions. If so, the repressive role that WEE1 has under checkpoint conditions might be part of the normal cell cycle for many proliferative plant cells. Arabidopsis CDC25 can function as either a phosphatase or an arsenate reductase and recent evidence suggests that cdc25 knockouts are hypersensitive to hydroxyurea, a drug that induces the DNA-replication checkpoint. That other data show a null response of these knockouts to hydroxyurea leads to an airing of the controversy surrounding the enigmatic plant CDC25 at the G2/M transition.
PMCID: PMC3091806  PMID: 21558458
Arabidopsis thaliana; cell-cycle checkpoints; CDC25 phosphatase; cyclin-dependent kinases; G2/M; WEE1 kinase
6.  A Strong Nucleotypic Effect on the Cell Cycle Regardless of Ploidy Level 
Annals of Botany  2008;101(6):747-757.
Background and Aims
In published studies, positive relationships between nucleotype and the duration of the mitotic cell cycle in angiosperms have been reported but the highest number of species analyzed was approx. 60. Here an analysis is presented of DNA C-values and cell cycle times in root apical meristems of angiosperms comprising 110 measurements, including monocots and eudicots within a set temperature range, and encompassing an approx. 290-fold variation in DNA C-values.
Data for 110 published cell cycle times of seedlings grown at temperatures between 20–25 °C were compared with DNA C-values (58 values for monocots and 52 for eudicots). Regression analyses were undertaken for all species, and separately for monocots and eudicots, diploids and polyploids, and annuals and perennials. Cell cycle times were plotted against the nuclear DNA C-values.
Key Results
A positive relationship was observed between DNA C-value and cell cycle time for all species and for eudicots and monocots separately, regardless of the presence or absence of polyploid values. In this sample, among 52 eudicots the maximum cell cycle length was 18 h, whereas the 58 monocot values ranged from 8–120 h. There was a striking additional increase in cell cycle duration in perennial monocots with C-values greater than 25 pg. Indeed, the most powerful relationship between DNA C-value and cell cycle time and the widest range of cell cycle times was in perennials regardless of ploidy level.
DNA replication is identified as a rate limiting step in the cell cycle, the flexibility of DNA replication is explored, and we speculate on how the licensing of initiation points of DNA replication may be a responsive component of the positive nucleotypic effect of C-value on the duration of the mitotic cell cycle.
PMCID: PMC2710215  PMID: 18339642
Cell cycle times; DNA C-value; nucleotype; ploidy level

Results 1-6 (6)