For genetic analysis of mechanisms of leaf morphogenesis, we chose Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh. as a model for leaf development in dicotyledonous plants. Leaves of the angustifolia mutant were the same length as but narrower and thicker than wild-type leaves. The total number of cells in leaf blades of angustifolia plants was the same as in the wild type. At the cellular level in the angustifolia mutant it was found that the cells were smaller in the leaf-width direction and larger in the leaf-thickness direction than in wild type, revealing the function of the ANGUSTIFOLIA gene, which is to control leaf morphology by regulating polarity-specific cell elongation. The existence of similar genes that regulate leaf development in the length direction was, therefore, predicted. Three loci and several alleles associated with short-leaved mutants were newly isolated as rotundifolia mutants. The rotundifolia3 mutant had the same number of cells as the wild type, with reduced cell elongation in the leaf-length direction. The features of the angustifolia rotundifolia3 double mutant indicated that ANGUSTIFOLIA and ROTUNDIFOLIA3 genes act independently. We propose that leaf expansion in Arabidopsis involves at least two independent developmental processes: width development and length development, with the ANGUSTIFOLIA and ROTUNDIFOLIA3 genes playing different polarity-specific roles in cell elongation.

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