Zoe Yeoh '18, Gettysburg College

Elizabeth Luscher, University of California, Riverside

Patricia Springer, University of California, Riverside

Document Type


Date of Creation

Summer 2016




Transcription factors (TFs) help ensure proper gene expression in developing tissues, and thus play a role in plant development and plant architecture. LATERAL ORGAN FUSION1, or LOF1, is a TF expressed in the organ boundaries of Arabidopsis thaliana. lof1 mutants have fused axillary branches and cauline leaves, which indicates importance in boundary development. Because transcription factors are known to act in complexes, we wanted to discover what other proteins interact with LOF1. We executed a yeast-2-hybrid (Y2H) screen that identified several TFs as potential interactors: WHIRLY 3 (WHY3), MYB DOMAIN PROTEIN32 (MYB32), HOMEOBOX-LEUCINE ZIPPER PROTEIN4 (HB4), and LIGHT RESPONSE BTB2 (LRB2). WHIRLY1 (WHY1) and HOMEOBOX ARABIDOPSIS THALIANA3 (HAT3) are thought to be redundant with WHY3 and HB4, respectively, and are included in our study. To gain evidence that the interactions between the potential protein interactors and LOF1 is biologically relevant in planta, we will characterize T-DNA insertion lines in which the genes that encode these interactors are disrupted. Our goal is three-fold: genotype the T-DNA lines to identify homozygous mutants; characterize the phenotypes of these mutants and compare to known phenotypes; and create double- and triple-mutants between lof1 and the other TFs. Because the boundary region is involved in determining leaf angle and leaf angle affects planting density, changes in leaf angle have the potential to impact crop yield. In the future, we may be able to apply the knowledge we obtain in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana to crop species in order to improve crop yield.


Research funded by the National Science Foundation REU Program. Presented at the 2017 Emerging Researchers National Conference in Washington, D.C., the 2016 University of California-Riverside Center for Plant Cell Biology Research Experience for Undergraduates Symposium, and at the Undergraduate Research on the Cycle (UROC) during Gettysburg College's Year of Food (2016-2017).