The KNOXI transcription factor SHOOT meristemless regulates floral fate in arabidopsis[OPEN]

Ohad Roth, John P. Alvarez, Matan Levy, John L. Bowman, Naomi Ori, Eilon Shani*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Plants have evolved a unique and conserved developmental program that enables the conversion of leaves into floral organs. Elegant genetic and molecular work has identified key regulators of flower meristem identity. However, further understanding of flower meristem specification has been hampered by redundancy and by pleiotropic effects. The KNOXI transcription factor SHOOT MERISTEMLESS (STM) is a well-characterized regulator of shoot apical meristem maintenance. Arabidopsis thaliana stm loss-of-function mutants arrest shortly after germination; therefore, the knowledge on later roles of STM in later processes, including flower development, is limited. Here, we uncover a role for STM in the specification of flower meristem identity. Silencing STM in the APETALA1 (AP1) expression domain in the ap1-4 mutant background resulted in a leafy-flower phenotype, and an intermediate stm-2 allele enhanced the flower meristem identity phenotype of ap1-4. Transcriptional profiling of STM perturbation suggested that STM activity affects multiple floral fate genes, among them the F-box protein-encoding gene UNUSUAL FLORAL ORGANS (UFO). In agreement with this notion, stm-2 enhanced the ufo-2 floral fate phenotype, and ectopic UFO expression rescued the leafy flowers in genetic backgrounds with compromised AP1 and STM activities. This work suggests a genetic mechanism that underlies the activity of STM in the specification of flower meristem identity.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1309-1321
Number of pages13
JournalPlant Cell
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2018

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