The overall aerial architecture of flowering plants depends on a group of meristematic cells in the shoot apex. We demonstrate that the Arabidopsis TERMINAL FLOWER 1 gene has a unified effect on the rate of progression of the shoot apex through different developmental phases. In transgenic Arabidopsis plants which ectopically express TERMINAL FLOWER 1, both the vegetative and reproductive phases are greatly extended. As a consequence, these plants exhibit dramatic changes in their overall morphology, producing an enlarged vegetative rosette of leaves, followed by a highly branched inflorescence which eventually forms normal flowers. Activity of the floral meristem identity genes LEAFY and APETALA 1 is not directly inhibited by TERMINAL FLOWER 1, but their upregulation is markedly delayed compared to wild-type controls. These phenotypic and molecular effects complement those observed in the tfl1 mutant, where all phases are shortened. The results suggest that TERMINAL FLOWER 1 participates in a common mechanism underlying major shoot apical phase transitions, rather than there being unrelated mechanisms which regulate each specific transition during the life cycle.
A common mechanism controls the life cycle and architecture of plants
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O.J. Ratcliffe, I. Amaya, C.A. Vincent, S. Rothstein, R. Carpenter, E.S. Coen, D.J. Bradley; A common mechanism controls the life cycle and architecture of plants. Development 1 May 1998; 125 (9): 1609–1615. doi: https://doi.org/10.1242/dev.125.9.1609
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