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Development. 1998 Jul;125(14):2545-53.

The WIGGUM gene is required for proper regulation of floral meristem size in Arabidopsis.

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  • 1California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA.


The study of cell division control within developing tissues is central to understanding the processes of pattern formation. The floral meristem of angiosperms gives rise to floral organs in a particular number and pattern. Despite its critical role, little is known about how cell division is controlled in the floral meristem, and few genes involved have been identified. We describe the phenotypic effects of mutations in WIGGUM, a gene required for control of cell proliferation in the floral and apical meristem of Arabidopsis thaliana. wiggum flowers contain more organs, especially sepals and petals, than found in wild-type flowers. This organ number phenotype correlates with specific size changes in the early floral meristem, preceding organ initiation. Genetic studies suggest that WIGGUM acts on a similar process but in a separate pathway than the CLAVATA1 and CLAVATA3 genes in meristem size regulation, and reveal interactions with other genes affecting meristem structure and identity. Analysis of double mutant phenotypes also reveals a role for WIGGUM in apical meristem function. We propose that WIGGUM plays a role in restricting cell division relative to cellular differentiation in specific regions of the apical and floral meristems.

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