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Free Content MERISTEM-DEFECTIVE, an RS domain protein, is required for the correct meristem patterning and function in Arabidopsis

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Plant growth and development is dependent on the specification and maintenance of pools of stem cells found in the meristems. Mutations in the Arabidopsis MERISTEM-DEFECTIVE (MDF) gene lead to a loss of stem cell and meristematic activity in the root and vegetative shoot. MDF encodes a putative RS domain protein with a predicted role in transcription or RNA processing control. mdf mutants exhibit decreased levels of PINFORMED2 (PIN2) and PIN4 mRNAs, which is associated with a reduction in PIN:GFP levels, and with a defective auxin maximum in the basal region of the developing mdf embryo and seedling root meristem. Seedling roots also exhibit reduced PLETHORA (PLT), SCARECROW and SHORTROOT gene expression, a loss of stem cell activity, terminal differentiation of the root meristem and defective cell patterning. MDF expression is not defective in the bodenlos, pin1 or eir1/pin2 auxin mutants, and is not modulated by exogenous auxin. plt1 plt2 double mutants have unaffected levels of MDF RNA, indicating that MDF acts upstream of PIN and PLT gene expression. Differentiation of the shoot stem cell pool also occurs in mdf mutants, associated with a reduced WUSCHEL (WUS) expression domain and expanded CLAVATA3 (CLV3) domain. Overexpression of MDF leads to the activation of markers of embryonic identity and ectopic meristem activity in vegetative tissues. These results demonstrate a requirement for the MDF-dependent pathway in regulating PIN/PLT- and WUS/CLV-mediated meristem activity.
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Keywords: Arabidopsis; RS domain proteins; SR proteins; meristem; root development; stem cells

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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