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Plant Cell. Jun 1999; 11(6): 1007–1018.
PMCID: PMC144247

Interactions among APETALA1, LEAFY, and TERMINAL FLOWER1 specify meristem fate.

Abstract

Upon floral induction, the primary shoot meristem of an Arabidopsis plant begins to produce flower meristems rather than leaf primordia on its flanks. Assignment of floral fate to lateral meristems is primarily due to the cooperative activity of the flower meristem identity genes LEAFY (LFY), APETALA1 (AP1), and CAULIFLOWER. We present evidence here that AP1 expression in lateral meristems is activated by at least two independent pathways, one of which is regulated by LFY. In lfy mutants, the onset of AP1 expression is delayed, indicating that LFY is formally a positive regulator of AP1. We have found that AP1, in turn, can positively regulate LFY, because LFY is expressed prematurely in the converted floral meristems of plants constitutively expressing AP1. Shoot meristems maintain an identity distinct from that of flower meristems, in part through the action of genes such as TERMINAL FLOWER1 (TFL1), which bars AP1 and LFY expression from the influorescence shoot meristem. We show here that this negative regulation can be mutual because TFL1 expression is downregulated in plants constitutively expressing AP1. Therefore, the normally sharp phase transition between the production of leaves with associated shoots and formation of the flowers, which occurs upon floral induction, is promoted by positive feedback interactions between LFY and AP1, together with negative interactions of these two genes with TFL1.

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Selected References

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