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Development. 2002 Jul;129(13):3195-206.

The WUSCHEL and SHOOTMERISTEMLESS genes fulfil complementary roles in Arabidopsis shoot meristem regulation.

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  • 1Institut für Biologie III, Universität Freiburg, Schänzlestrasse 1, D-79104 Freiburg, Germany.

Abstract

Continuous organ formation from the shoot apical meristem requires the integration of two functions: a set of undifferentiated, pluripotent stem cells is maintained at the very tip of the meristem, while their daughter cells in the periphery initiate organ primordia. The homeobox genes WUSCHEL (WUS) and SHOOTMERISTEMLESS (STM) encode two major regulators of meristem formation and maintenance in Arabidopsis, yet their interaction in meristem regulation is presently unclear. Here, we have addressed this question using loss- and gain-of-function approaches. We show that stem cell specification by WUS does not require STM activity. Conversely, STM suppresses differentiation independently of WUS and is required and sufficient to promote cell division. Consistent with their independent and distinct phenotypic effects, ectopic WUS and STM activities induce the expression of different downstream target genes. Finally, the pathways regulated by WUS and STM appear to converge in the suppression of differentiation, since coexpression of both genes produced a synergistic effect, and increased WUS activity could partly compensate for loss of STM function. These results suggest that WUS and STM share labour in the shoot apical meristem: WUS specifies a subset of cells in the centre as stem cells, while STM is required to suppress differentiation throughout the meristem dome, thus allowing stem cell daughters to be amplified before they are incorporated into organs.

PMID:
12070094
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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