The RNA helicase, eIF4A-1, is required for ovule development and cell size homeostasis in Arabidopsis

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eIF4A is a highly conserved RNA-stimulated ATPase and helicase involved in the initiation of mRNA translation. The Arabidopsis genome encodes two isoforms, one of which (eIF4A-1) is required for the coordination between cell cycle progression and cell size. A T-DNA mutant eif4a1 line, with reduced eIF4A protein levels, displays slow growth, reduced lateral root formation, delayed flowering and abnormal ovule development. Loss of eIF4A-1 reduces the proportion of mitotic cells in the root meristem and perturbs the relationship between cell size and cell cycle progression. Several cell cycle reporter proteins, particularly those expressed at G2/M, have reduced expression in eif4a1 mutant meristems. Single eif4a1 mutants are semisterile and show aberrant ovule growth, whereas double eif4a1 eif4a2 homozygous mutants could not be recovered, indicating that eIF4A function is essential for plant growth and development.

Significance Statement

While transcriptional control mechanisms in cell cycle progression and development have been extensively dissected, less is known about the role of translation. Here we show that an Arabidopsis TDNA mutant with reduced levels of the translation initiation factor eIF4A exhibits several growth defects suggesting that eIF4A-1 is required for normal cell cycle progression and coordination of cell division with cell growth.

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