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Nat Genet. 2007 Jun;39(6):787-91. Epub 2007 May 7.

Regulation of LANCEOLATE by miR319 is required for compound-leaf development in tomato.

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The Robert H. Smith Institute of Plant Sciences and Genetics in Agriculture, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, P.O. Box 12, Rehovot 76100, Israel.


Plant leaves show pronounced plasticity of size and form. In the classical, partially dominant mutation Lanceolate (La), the large compound leaves of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) are converted into small simple ones. We show that LA encodes a transcription factor from the TCP family containing an miR319-binding site. Five independent La isolates are gain-of-function alleles that result from point mutations within the miR319-binding site and confer partial resistance of the La transcripts to microRNA (miRNA)-directed inhibition. The reduced sensitivity to miRNA regulation leads to elevated LA expression in very young La leaf primordia and to precocious differentiation of leaf margins. In contrast, downregulation of several LA-like genes using ectopic expression of miR319 resulted in larger leaflets and continuous growth of leaf margins. Our results imply that regulation of LA by miR319 defines a flexible window of morphogenetic competence along the developing leaf margin that is required for leaf elaboration.

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