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Dev Biol. 1992 Aug;152(2):383-92.

Fiddlehead: an Arabidopsis mutant constitutively expressing an organ fusion program that involves interactions between epidermal cells.

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Department of Biology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06511.


In most circumstances plant epidermal cells do not respond to surface contact with adjacent plant parts. We have identified and characterized a mutant of Arabidopsis thaliana, designated fiddlehead, where lateral appendages of the shoot fuse with one another. While fusion between floral organs is most frequent, leaf fusions also occur. Using scanning and transmission electron microscopy, we show that adhesion takes place between epidermal cells and does not involve cytoplasmic union. We also show that the frequency of organ fusion is dictated by organ proximity. In wildtype Arabidopsis, postgenital fusion takes place exclusively in the gynoecium, whereas in the fiddlehead mutant, this program becomes expressed constitutively. The existence of such a mutant demonstrates that postgenital fusion is a genetically distinct program superimposed upon other aspects of gynoecial development in Arabidopsis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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