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New Phytol. 2012 Jul;195(1):71-84. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2012.04147.x. Epub 2012 Apr 24.

NO APICAL MERISTEM (MtNAM) regulates floral organ identity and lateral organ separation in Medicago truncatula.

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Plant Biology Division, Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Ardmore, OK 73401, USA.


• The CUP-SHAPED COTYLEDON (CUC)/NO APICAL MERISTEM (NAM) family of genes control boundary formation and lateral organ separation, which is critical for proper leaf and flower patterning. However, most downstream targets of CUC/NAM genes remain unclear. • In a forward screen of the tobacco retrotransposon1 (Tnt1) insertion population in Medicago truncatula, we isolated a weak allele of the no-apical-meristem mutant mtnam-2. Meanwhile, we regenerated a mature plant from the null allele mtnam-1. These materials allowed us to extensively characterize the function of MtNAM and its downstream genes. • MtNAM is highly expressed in vegetative shoot buds and inflorescence apices, specifically at boundaries between the shoot apical meristem and leaf/flower primordia. Mature plants of the regenerated null allele and the weak allele display remarkable floral phenotypes: floral whorls and organ numbers are reduced and the floral organ identity is compromised. Microarray and quantitative RT-PCR analyses revealed that all classes of floral homeotic genes are down-regulated in mtnam mutants. Mutations in MtNAM also lead to fused cotyledons and leaflets of the compound leaf as well as a defective shoot apical meristem. • Our results revealed that MtNAM shares the role of CUC/NAM family genes in lateral organ separation and compound leaf development, and is also required for floral organ identity and development.

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