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Plant J. 2001 Mar;25(6):663-74.

Novel marker genes for early leaf development indicate spatial regulation of carbohydrate metabolism within the apical meristem.

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Institute of Plant Sciences, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH-Zürich), Universitätsstrasse 2 (LFW D48), CH-8092 Zürich, Switzerland.


To identify genes expressed at the earliest stages of leaf development, we have performed a differential display analysis using portions of meristems destined to form leaves. Our analysis led to the identification of five genes showing an asymmetric pattern of gene expression within the meristem associated with leaf formation. Surprisingly, three of these genes encoded enzymes involved in carbohydrate metabolism (ADPglucose pyrophosphorylase, sucrose synthase and an SNF1-like kinase). Furthermore, specific transcript patterns were responsive to specific sugar and hormonal treatments. The other two genes identified encoded a Phantastica-like myb transcription factor (associated with the acquisition of leaf dorsiventrality) and CYP85 (a cytochrome P450, which plays a pivotal role in brassinolide metabolism). These data, firstly, identify a novel set of marker genes for the analysis of the earliest stages of leaf formation. Secondly, the function of the proteins encoded by these genes and their expression patterns within the meristem indicate that carbohydrate metabolism is spatially regulated within a tissue involved in key developmental processes. Finally, our data provide the first indication of an asymmetry in gene expression related to hormone biosynthesis in the meristem.

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