Deveaux, Y., Alonso, B., Pierrugues, O., Godon, C. and Kazmaier, M. Molecular Cloning and Developmental Expression of AtGR1, a New Growth-Related Arabidopsis Gene Strongly Induced by Ionizing Radiation.

Screening for mRNAs that accumulate after DNA damage induced by ionizing radiation, we have isolated a 2.0-kb cDNA coding for a new Arabidopsis PEST-box protein named AtGR1 (A. thaliana gamma response 1) with an expression profile similar to that observed for several plant cell cycle-related proteins. Using an anti-AtGR1 antibody, we have shown that the AtGR1 protein is expressed at basal levels in mitotically dividing cells (meristematic tissues and organ primordia) and at a strongly enhanced level in endoreduplicating cells (stipules, trichomes). Using transgenic Arabidopsis plants that express the GUS reporter gene under the control of the AtGR1 promoter, we have demonstrated that the observed AtGR1 protein distribution is due to the promoter activity. Our results suggest that basal AtGR1 levels are associated with progression through mitosis, whereas elevated intracellular levels of AtGR1 seem to induce changes between the S and M phases of the cell cycle that trigger somatic cells to enter the endoreduplication cycle. Ionizing radiation-induced rapid and dose-dependent accumulation of AtGR1 mRNA in cell cultures and plant tissues leads to tissue-specific accumulation of AtGR1 protein, best observed in ovules, which never undergo an endoreduplication cycle. It therefore appears that the radiation-induced transient AtGR1 accumulation reflects DNA damage-dependent transient cell cycle arrest before mitosis, which is necessary to accomplish DNA repair prior to chromosome segregation and cytokinesis.

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