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Plant Cell. 2008 Aug;20(8):2049-58. doi: 10.1105/tpc.107.057257. Epub 2008 Aug 1.

Functional diversification of CLAVATA3-related CLE proteins in meristem maintenance in rice.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Graduate School of Science, University of Tokyo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8654, Japan.


Postembryonic development in plants depends on the activity of the shoot apical meristem (SAM) and root apical meristem (RAM). In Arabidopsis thaliana, CLAVATA signaling negatively regulates the size of the stem cell population in the SAM by repressing WUSCHEL. In other plants, however, studies of factors involved in stem cell maintenance are insufficient. Here, we report that two proteins closely related to CLAVATA3, FLORAL ORGAN NUMBER2 (FON2) and FON2-LIKE CLE PROTEIN1 (FCP1/Os CLE402), have functionally diversified to regulate the different types of meristem in rice (Oryza sativa). Unlike FON2, which regulates the maintenance of flower and inflorescence meristems, FCP1 appears to regulate the maintenance of the vegetative SAM and RAM. Constitutive expression of FCP1 results in consumption of the SAM in the vegetative phase, and application of an FCP1 CLE peptide in vitro disturbs root development by misspecification of cell fates in the RAM. FON1, a putative receptor of FON2, is likely to be unnecessary for these FCP1 functions. Furthermore, we identify a key amino acid residue that discriminates between the actions of FCP1 and FON2. Our results suggest that, although the basic framework of meristem maintenance is conserved in the angiosperms, the functions of the individual factors have diversified during evolution.

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