AGAMOUS-like 15 (AGL15) is a member of the MADS domain family of transcription factors (TFs) that can directly induce and repress target gene expression, and for which promotion of somatic embryogenesis (SE) is positively correlated with accumulation. An ethylene-responsive element binding factor-associated amphiphilic repression (EAR) motif of form LxLxL within the carboxyl-terminal domain of AGL15 was shown to be involved in repression of gene expression. Here, we examine whether AGL15′s ability to repress gene expression is needed to promote SE. While a form of AGL15 where the LxLxL is changed to AxAxA can still promote SE, another form with a strong transcriptional activator at the carboxy-terminal end, does not promote SE and, in fact, is detrimental to SE development. Select target genes were examined for response to the different forms of AGL15.

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Published in Plants, v. 10, issue 4, 758.

© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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This work was supported by the National Science Foundation (grant no. IOS-1656380 to S.E.P.) and by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Hatch project (S.E.P.) under accession number 1013409.

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The following are available online at https://www.mdpi.com/article/10.3390/plants10040758/s1, Table S1. Oligonucleotides used for qRT-PCR, Figure S1. CisGenome traces showing association of AGL15 with genes encoding key embryo TFs, Figure S2. CisGenome traces showing association of AGL15 with genes encoding other MADS-domain proteins.

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