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Development. 2004 Jul;131(13):3147-56. Epub 2004 Jun 2.

HUA ENHANCER3 reveals a role for a cyclin-dependent protein kinase in the specification of floral organ identity in Arabidopsis.

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Waksman Institute, Rutgers University, 190 Frelinghuysen Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854, USA.


In plants, organs are generated post-embryonically from highly organized structures known as meristems. Cell division in the meristem is closely integrated with cell fate specification and organ formation. The presence of multiple cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) and their partner cyclins in plants and other multicellular organisms probably reflects the complexity of cell cycle regulation within developmental contexts. The Arabidopsis genome encodes at least eight CDKs and 30 cyclins. However, no mutants in any CDKs have been reported, and the function of the great majority of these genes in plant development is unknown. We show that HUA ENHANCER3 (HEN3), which encodes CDKE, a homolog of mammalian CDK8, is required for the specification of stamen and carpel identities and for the proper termination of stem cells in the floral meristem. Therefore, CDK8 plays a role in cell differentiation in a multicellular organism.

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