The titan mutants of Arabidopsis exhibit striking defects in seed development. The defining feature is the presence of abnormal endosperm with giant polyploid nuclei. Several TTN genes encode structural maintenance of chromosome proteins (condensins and cohesins) required for chromosome function at mitosis. Another TTN gene product (TTN5) is related to the ARL2 class of GTP-binding proteins. Here, we identify four additional TTN genes and present a general model for the titan phenotype. TTN1 was cloned after two tagged alleles were identified through a large-scale screen of T-DNA insertion lines. The predicted gene product is related to tubulin-folding cofactor D, which interacts with ARL2 in fission yeast (Schizosaccharomyces pombe) and humans to regulate tubulin dynamics. We propose that TTN5 and TTN1 function in a similar manner to regulate microtubule function in seed development. The titan phenotype can therefore result from disruption of chromosome dynamics (ttn3, ttn7, and ttn8) or microtubule function (ttn1 and ttn5). Three other genes have been identified that affect endosperm nuclear morphology. TTN4 and TTN9 appear to encode plant-specific proteins of unknown function. TTN6 is related to the isopeptidase T class of deubiquitinating enzymes that recycle polyubiquitin chains following protein degradation. Disruption of this gene may reduce the stability of the structural maintenance of chromosome complex. Further analysis of the TITAN network should help to elucidate the regulation of microtubule function and chromosome dynamics in seed development.
Tzafrir, I., McElver, J. A., Liu, C. M., Yang, L. J., Wu, J. Q., Martinez, A., ... Meinke, D. W. (2002). Diversity of TITAN function in Arabidopsis Seed Development. Plant Physiology, 128(1), 38-51. https://doi.org/10.1104/pp.010911