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Accession IconSRP144164

The KNOXI gene SHOOT MERISTEMLESS regulates floral fate in Arabidopsis

Organism Icon Arabidopsis thaliana
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Technology Badge IconNextSeq 500

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Plants have evolved a unique and conserved developmental program that enables the conversion of leaves into floral organs. Elegant genetic and molecular work has identified key regulators of floral meristem identity. However, further understanding of flower meristem specification has been hampered by redundancy and by pleiotropic effects. The KNOXI gene STM transcription factor is a well-characterized regulator of shoot apical meristem maintenance. stm loss-of-function mutants arrest shortly after germination, and therefore the knowledge on later roles of STM, including flower development, is limited. Here, we uncover a role for STM in the specification of flower meristem identity. Silencing STM in the AP1 expression domain in the ap1-4 mutant background resulted in a complete leafy-like flower phenotype and an intermediate stm-2 allele enhanced the floral meristem identity phenotype of ap1-4. Transcriptional profiling of STM perturbation suggested that STM activity affects multiple meristem identity and flower transition genes, among them the F-Box gene UFO. In agreement, stm-2 enhanced the ufo-2 floral meristem fate phenotype, and ectopic UFO expression rescued the leafy flowers in genetic backgrounds with compromised AP1 and STM activities. This work suggests a molecular mechanism that underlies the activity of STM in the specification of flower meristem identity. Overall design: Silencing STM in the AP1 expression domain in the ap1-4 mutant
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