Activation of Arabidopsis seed hair development by cotton fiber-related genes.
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Each cotton fiber is a single-celled seed trichome or hair, and over 20,000 fibers may develop semi-synchronously on each seed. The molecular basis for seed hair development is unknown but is likely to share many similarities with leaf trichome development in Arabidopsis. Leaf trichome initiation in Arabidopsis thaliana is activated by GLABROUS1 (GL1) that is negatively regulated by TRIPTYCHON (TRY). Using laser capture microdissection and microarray analysis, we found that many putative MYB transcription factor and structural protein genes were differentially expressed in fiber and non-fiber tissues. Gossypium hirsutum MYB2 (GhMYB2), a putative GL1 homolog, and its downstream gene, GhRDL1, were highly expressed during fiber cell initiation. GhRDL1, a fiber-related gene with unknown function, was predominately localized around cell walls in stems, sepals, seed coats, and pollen grains. GFP:GhRDL1 and GhMYB2:YFP were co-localized in the nuclei of ectopic trichomes in siliques. Overexpressing GhRDL1 or GhMYB2 in A. thaliana Columbia-0 (Col-0) activated fiber-like hair production in 4-6% of seeds and had on obvious effects on trichome development in leaves or siliques. Co-overexpressing GhRDL1 and GhMYB2 in A. thaliana Col-0 plants increased hair formation in 8% of seeds. Overexpressing both GhRDL1 and GhMYB2 in A. thaliana Col-0 try mutant plants produced seed hair in 10% of seeds as well as dense trichomes inside and outside siliques, suggesting synergistic effects of GhRDL1 and GhMYB2 with try on development of trichomes inside and outside of siliques and seed hair in A. thaliana. These data suggest that a different combination of factors is required for the full development of trichomes (hairs) in leaves, siliques, and seeds. A. thaliana can be developed as a model a system for discovering additional genes that control seed hair development in general and cotton fiber in particular.