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Nucleic Acids Res. 2006 Mar 2;34(4):1281-92. Print 2006.

Nuclear import of the transcription factor SHOOT MERISTEMLESS depends on heterodimerization with BLH proteins expressed in discrete sub-domains of the shoot apical meristem of Arabidopsis thaliana.

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Institut für Entwicklungsbiologie, Gyrhofstr. 17, D-50923 Köln, Germany.


The gene SHOOT MERISTEMLESS (STM) is required for the initiation and the maintenance of the shoot apical meristem (SAM) in Arabidopsis and encodes a MEINOX/three amino acid loop extension (TALE)-HD-type transcription factor. Translational fusions with the green fluorescent protein showed that STM is not nuclear by default. In a yeast two-hybrid screen performed with a meristem-enriched cDNA library, three interacting BLH (Bel1-like homeodomain) transcription factors were identified. According to bimolecular fluorescence complementation, STM is targeted into the nuclear compartment through heterodimerization with BLH partner proteins, which are expressed in distinct SAM domains from the center to the periphery. On a functional level, overexpression experiments in transgenic Arabidopsis plants suggest that individual heterodimers provide distinct contributions. These results contribute to our understanding of the STM transcription factor function in the SAM and also shed new light on the evolution of the TALE-HD super gene family in animal and plant lineages.

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