"The specification of the epidermis, or outer cell-layer of the plant occurs very early in embryogenesis. ADEK1 encodes a function absolutely required for early embryogenesis, and this function is likely to be a key component of the outer cell-layer speci fication pathway. Preliminary analysis of adek1 null alleles showed that they cause early embryo lethality involving serious cellular disorganisation and loss of epidermal marker expression in Arabidopsis. In addition, RNAi knock-downs of ADEK1 result in a severe phenotype characterised by loss of apical meristem organisation and function, and replacement of epidermal cells with mesophyll cells over most of the cotyledon surface. ADEK1 is predicted to encode a large membrane-localised protein with a C-ter minal region containing a calpain domain that could act in the cytosol to cleave specific target proteins. This project aims to place ADEK1 within its molecular context, both in relation to proteins with which it interacts, and with respect to its substra tes. We aim to characterise the functional requirements for the different domains of ADEK1 using a complementation approach. Yeast-two-hybrid screens will be performed to isolate potential interactors with ADEK1 of two classes; A) those which could act as regulators or facilitators of ADEK1 function and B) potential proteolytic substrates. The proposed project addresses the molecular basis of signalling, potentially both at the inter- and intracellular levels, responsible for the specification of epidermal cell identity."
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