Cloning and characterization of CER2, an Arabidopsis gene that affects cuticular wax accumulation

Yiji Xia, Basil J. Nikolau, Patrick S. Schnable*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

100 Citations (Scopus)


Cuticular waxes are complex mixtures of very long chain fatty acids and their derivatives that cover plant surfaces. Mutants of the ECERIFERUM2 (cer2) gene of Arabidopsis condition bright green stems and siliques, indicative of the relatively low abundance of the cuticular wax crystals that comprise the wax bloom on wild-type plants. We cloned the CER2 gene via chromosome walking. Three lines of evidence establish that the cloned sequence represents the CER2 gene: (1) this sequence is capable of complementing the cer2 mutant phenotype in transgenic plants; (2) the corresponding DNA sequence isolated from plants homozygous for the cer2-2 mutant allele contains a sequence polymorphism that generates a premature stop codon; and (3) the deduced CER2 protein sequence exhibits sequence similarity to that of a maize gene (glossy2) that also is involved in cuticular wax accumulation. The CER2 gene encodes a novel protein with a predicted mass of 47 kD. We studied the expression pattern of the CER2 gene by in situ hybridization and analysis of transgenic Arabidopsis plants carrying a CER2-β-glucuronidase gene fusion that includes 1.0 kb immediately upstream of CER2 and 0.2 kb of CER2 coding sequences. These studies demonstrate that the CER2 gene is expressed in an organ- and tissue-specific manner; CER2 is expressed at high levels only in the epidermis of young siliques and stems. This finding is consistent with the visible phenotype associated with mutants of the CER2 gene. Hence, the 1.2-kb fragment of the CER2 gene used to construct the CER2-β-glucuronidase gene fusion includes all of the genetic information required for the epidermis-specific accumulation of CER2 mRNA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1291-1304
Number of pages14
JournalPlant Cell
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1996

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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