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Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2011 Feb;14(1):24-30. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2010.08.012. Epub 2010 Sep 25.

How a leaf gets its shape.

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Plant Gene Expression Center, USDA-ARS, University of California, Berkeley, 800 Buchanan St, Albany, CA 94710, USA.


Leaves are formed from a group of initial cells within the meristem. One of the earliest markers of leaf initiation is the down-regulation of KNOX genes in initial cells. Polar auxin activity, MYB and LOB domain transcription factors function to keep KNOX out of the initiating leaf. If KNOX genes are expressed in initial cells, leaves fail to form. As the leaf grows away from the meristem, its shape is determined by growth in three axes, proximal-distal, abaxial-adaxial and medial-lateral. HD-ZIPIII, KANADI and the small RNA pathway play a significant role in the latter two axes. KNOX proteins play a role in the proximal-distal axis. Although genetic networks are conserved between monocots and dicots, the outcome in leaf shape often differs.

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