How EXPANSIN15 Affects Flower and Fruit Growth

Greg Howard
30th January, 2024

How EXPANSIN15 Affects Flower and Fruit Growth

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

In plants, the way they grow and take shape—be it petals, fruits, or leaves—depends largely on cell expansion. It's a key factor that defines the size and form of plant parts during their development. One particular gene, known as EXPANSIN15 (EXPA15), has been found to play a critical role in this growth process. When looking into the intricacies of how flowers and fruits develop, recent research has centered on EXPA15, especially since it's expressed in key areas like petals and the gynoecium, which is the female reproductive part of a flower. Upon studying plants that lack functional versions of the EXPA15 gene, scientists discovered that this gene is a major player in determining the shape and size of petals. Without it, petals can turn out distorted in shape and may be smaller due to irregularities in the size and number of cells. But EXPA15 isn't just about petal prettiness. It also impacts the size of fruits by influencing both how many cells they have and how large these cells can grow. It's interesting to note that this gene is a facilitator of sorts, as it promotes the coming together of medial tissues in the gynoecium—think of it as helping to stitch together the inner parts of the plant's reproductive system. The gene doesn't work alone. It has a complex relationship with other genes, namely SPATULA (SPT) and FRUITFULL (FUL). These are like the backstage crew in a theater production of a plant's life. When EXPA15 works alongside these genes, they collectively influence the development of the gynoecium's intricate anatomy that includes the style and stigma, as well as the fruit. The study of the EXPA15 gene presents a clearer picture of the role expansins—which are proteins that promote cell wall loosening and hence cell expansion—play in the development of flowers and fruits. The research unveils just how integral these proteins are in crafting the very elements that make plants both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Understanding EXPA15 and its companions could one day lead to new ways to manipulate plant growth for both agriculture and horticulture, potentially affecting everything from the food we eat to the flowers we admire.

GeneticsBiochemPlant Science


Main Study

1) EXPANSIN15 is involved in flower and fruit development in Arabidopsis.

Published 29th January, 2024

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