Gibberellins (GAs) are plant hormones that regulate most plant life cycle aspects, including flowering and fruit development. Here, we demonstrate the implication of GAs in ovule development. DELLA proteins, negative GA response regulators, act as positive factors for ovule integument development in a mechanism that involves transcription factor ABERRANT TESTA SHAPE (ATS). The seeds of the della global mutant, a complete loss-of-function of DELLA, and the ats-1 mutant are remarkably similar, with a round shape, a disorganized testa, and viviparism. These defects are the result of an alteration in integuments that fail to fully develop and are shorter than in wild-type plants. ats-1 also shows some GA-related phenotypes, for example, higher germination rates and early flowering. In fact, ats-1 has elevated GA levels due to the activation of GA biosynthesis genes, which indicates that ATS inhibits GA biosynthesis. Moreover, DELLAs and ATS proteins interact, which suggests the formation of a transcriptional complex that regulates the expression of genes involved in integument growth. Therefore, the repression of GA biosynthesis by ATS would result in the stabilization of DELLAs to ensure correct ATS-DELLA complex formation. The requirement of both activities to coordinate proper ovule development strongly argues that the ATS-DELLA complex acts as a key molecular factor. This work provides the first evidence for a role of GAs in ovule and seed development.
Via Christophe Jacquet