Genetics

Making a Meristem

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Science  29 Aug 2008:
Vol. 321, Issue 5893, pp. 1134
DOI: 10.1126/science.321.5893.1134b

Plant development is regulated by meristems, which give rise to all plant organs, including the root, shoot, and flowers. In Arabidopsis, the meristem is controlled primarily by a signaling cascade initiated by CLAVATA (CLA) receptors that are activated by CLE peptides. Suzaki et al. have examined homologs of the Arabidopsis CLAVATA3 protein (a CLE peptide), which controls meristem development, in rice. They found that two closely related rice genes together appear to reflect the general function of the single peptide in Arabidopsis, suggesting that development of the meristem is evolutionarily conserved despite the approximately 180 million years separating Arabidopsis and rice. However, they also find that within rice, the function of the two peptides has diverged, so that they appear to have undergone sub-functionalization. — LMZ

Plant Cell 20, 10.1105/tpc.107.057257 (2008).

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