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Development. 2000 Feb;127(4):725-34.

Redundant regulation of meristem identity and plant architecture by FRUITFULL, APETALA1 and CAULIFLOWER.

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Department of Biology, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0116, USA.


The transition from vegetative to reproductive phases during Arabidopsis development is the result of a complex interaction of environmental and endogenous factors. One of the key regulators of this transition is LEAFY (LFY), whose threshold levels of activity are proposed to mediate the initiation of flowers. The closely related APETALA1 (AP1) and CAULIFLOWER (CAL) meristem identity genes are also important for flower initiation, in part because of their roles in upregulating LFY expression. We have found that mutations in the FRUITFULL (FUL) MADS-box gene, when combined with mutations in AP1 and CAL, lead to a dramatic non-flowering phenotype in which plants continuously elaborate leafy shoots in place of flowers. We demonstrate that this phenotype is caused both by the lack of LFY upregulation and by the ectopic expression of the TERMINAL FLOWER1 (TFL1) gene. Our results suggest that the FUL, AP1 and CAL genes act redundantly to control inflorescence architecture by affecting the domains of LFY and TFL1 expression as well as the relative levels of their activities.

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