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Meristem Maintenance in Arabidopsis thaliana

by Para, Alessia

Abstract (Summary)
The shoot apical meristem (SAM) is the structure that shapes the aerial architecture of the plant, by producing lateral organs throughout development. In the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, the SAM is always identifiable as a characteristic dome, whether it is found in the centre of a rosette of leaves or at the tip of an inflorescence. When senescence occurs and organogenesis ceases, the now inactive SAM still retains its characteristic appearance and it is never consumed into a terminal structure, such as a flower. Mutant plants that undergo termination represent a valuable tool to understand how the SAM structure and function are maintained during plant life. The aim of this work was to investigate the dynamics of meristem development through morphological and genetic studies of three Arabidopsis mutants that exhibit distinct modes of SAM termination: distorted architecture 1 (dar1), adenosine kinase 1 (adk1) and terminal flower 2 (tfl2). The dar1 mutation is characterised by a severely distorted cellular architecture within the SAM. We propose that dar1 affects the pattern of cell differentiation and/or cell proliferation within the SAM apical dome, resulting in termination by meristem consumption. Instead, the adk1 mutation affects the organogenic potential of the SAM, without altering its structure. The adk1 mutant has increased levels of cytokinins and, as a consequence of this, cell division is enhanced and cell differentiation is prevented in the apex, causing termination by meristem arrest. Finally, tfl2 is mutated in the conserved chromatin remodelling factor HP1, a transcriptional repressor with multiple roles during plant development. The tfl2 SAM terminates by conversion into a floral structure, due to de-repression of floral identity genes. Interestingly, tfl2 mutants also show an altered response to light, an indication that TFL2 might act as a repressor also in the context of light signalling.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Uppsala universitet

School Location:Sweden

Source Type:Doctoral Dissertation

Keywords:NATURAL SCIENCES; Life sciences and physical sciences; Arabidopsis thaliana; development; shoot apical meristem; NATURVETENSKAP

ISBN:91-554-5997-8

Date of Publication:01/01/2004

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