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Science 323 (5911): 262-265

Copyright © 2009 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

tasselseed1 Is a Lipoxygenase Affecting Jasmonic Acid Signaling in Sex Determination of Maize

Iván F. Acosta,1* Hélène Laparra,1 Sandra P. Romero,1 Eric Schmelz,2 Mats Hamberg,3 John P. Mottinger,4 Maria A. Moreno,1 Stephen L. Dellaporta1{dagger}

Abstract: Sex determination in maize is controlled by a developmental cascade leading to the formation of unisexual florets derived from an initially bisexual floral meristem. Abortion of pistil primordia in staminate florets is controlled by a tasselseed-mediated cell death process. We positionally cloned and characterized the function of the sex determination gene tasselseed1 (ts1). The TS1 protein encodes a plastid-targeted lipoxygenase with predicted 13-lipoxygenase specificity, which suggests that TS1 may be involved in the biosynthesis of the plant hormone jasmonic acid. In the absence of a functional ts1 gene, lipoxygenase activity was missing and endogenous jasmonic acid concentrations were reduced in developing inflorescences. Application of jasmonic acid to developing inflorescences rescued stamen development in mutant ts1 and ts2 inflorescences, revealing a role for jasmonic acid in male flower development in maize.

1 Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06511, USA.
2 Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, U.S. Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service, Gainesville, FL 32608, USA.
3 Division of Physiological Chemistry II, Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, Karolinska Institutet, S-17177 Stockholm, Sweden.
4 Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881, USA.

* Present address: IFA, Département de Biologie Moléculaire Végétale, Université de Lausanne, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.

{dagger} To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: stephen.dellaporta{at}

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