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Wiley Interdiscip Rev Dev Biol. 2015 Nov-Dec;4(6):655-71. doi: 10.1002/wdev.196. Epub 2015 Jun 24.

The complex of ASYMMETRIC LEAVES (AS) proteins plays a central role in antagonistic interactions of genes for leaf polarity specification in Arabidopsis.

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Graduate School of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Chubu University, Kasugai, Japan.
Graduate School of Horticulture, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan.
Graduate School of Science, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Japan.


Leaf primordia are born around meristem-containing stem cells at shoot apices, grow along three axes (proximal-distal, adaxial-abaxial, medial-lateral), and develop into flat symmetric leaves with adaxial-abaxial polarity. Axis development and polarity specification of Arabidopsis leaves require a network of genes for transcription factor-like proteins and small RNAs. Here, we summarize present understandings of adaxial-specific genes, ASYMMETRIC LEAVES1 (AS1) and AS2. Their complex (AS1-AS2) functions in the regulation of the proximal-distal leaf length by directly repressing class 1 KNOX homeobox genes (BP, KNAT2) that are expressed in the meristem periphery below leaf primordia. Adaxial-abaxial polarity specification involves antagonistic interaction of adaxial and abaxial genes including AS1 and AS2 for the development of two respective domains. AS1-AS2 directly represses the abaxial gene ETTIN/AUXIN RESPONSE FACTOR3 (ETT/ARF3) and indirectly represses ETT/ARF3 and ARF4 through tasiR-ARF. Modifier mutations have been identified that abolish adaxialization and enhance the defect in the proximal-distal patterning in as1 and as2. AS1-AS2 and its modifiers synergistically repress both ARFs and class 1 KNOXs. Repression of ARFs is critical for establishing adaxial-abaxial polarity. On the other hand, abaxial factors KANADI1 (KAN1) and KAN2 directly repress AS2 expression. These data delineate a molecular framework for antagonistic gene interactions among adaxial factors, AS1, AS2, and their modifiers, and the abaxial factors ARFs as key regulators in the establishment of adaxial-abaxial polarity. Possible AS1-AS2 epigenetic repression and activities downstream of ARFs are discussed.

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