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Genes Dev. 2001 Oct 15;15(20):2755-66.

The fasciated ear2 gene encodes a leucine-rich repeat receptor-like protein that regulates shoot meristem proliferation in maize.

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  • 1Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, New York 11724, USA.


The ability to initiate organs throughout the lifecycle is a unique feature of plant development that is executed by groups of stem cells called meristems. The balance between stem cell proliferation and organ initiation is carefully regulated and ensures that organs can be initiated in regular geometric patterns. To understand how this regulation is achieved, we isolated a novel mutant of maize, fasciated ear2 (fea2), which causes a massive overproliferation of the ear inflorescence meristem and a more modest effect on floral meristem size and organ number. We cloned the fea2 gene using transposon tagging, and it encodes a membrane localized leucine-rich repeat receptor-like protein that is most closely related to CLAVATA2 from Arabidopsis. These findings provide evidence that the CLAVATA pathway for regulation of meristem size is functionally conserved throughout the angiosperms. A possible connection of fea2 to the control of crop yields is discussed.

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