Interplay of miR164, CUP-SHAPED COTYLEDON genes and LATERAL SUPPRESSOR controls axillary meristem formation in Arabidopsis thaliana.

Aerial architecture in higher plants is established post-embryonically by the inception of new meristems in the axils of leaves. These axillary meristems develop into side shoots or flowers. In Arabidopsis, the NAC domain transcription factors CUP SHAPED COTYLEDON1 (CUC1), CUC2 and CUC3 function redundantly in initiating the shoot apical meristem and establishing organ boundaries. Transcripts of CUC1 and CUC2 are targeted for degradation by miR164. In this study, we show that cuc3-2 mutants are impaired in axillary meristem initiation. Overexpression of miR164 in the cuc3-2 mutant caused an almost complete block of axillary meristem formation. Conversely, mir164 mutants and plants harbouring miR164-resistant alleles of CUC1 or CUC2 developed accessory buds in leaf axils. Collectively, these experiments reveal that, in addition to CUC3, redundant functions of CUC1 and CUC2 as well as miR164 regulation are required for the establishment of axillary meristems. Studies on LAS transcript accumulation in mir164 triple mutants and cuc3-2 plants overexpressing miR164 suggest that regulation of axillary meristem formation by miR164 is mediated through CUC1 and CUC2, which in turn regulate LAS.

Plant J., 2008, 55(1):65-76.

DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2008.03483.x.

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The balance between the MIR164A and CUC2 genes controls leaf margin serration in Arabidopsis.

CUP-SHAPED COTYLEDON1 (CUC1), CUC2, and CUC3 define the boundary domain around organs in the Arabidopsis thaliana meristem. CUC1 and CUC2 transcripts are targeted by a microRNA (miRNA), miR164, encoded by MIR164A, B, and C. We show that each MIR164 is transcribed to generate a large population of primary miRNAs of variable size with a locally conserved secondary structure around the pre-miRNA. We identified mutations in the MIR164A gene that deepen serration of the leaf margin. By contrast, leaves of plants overexpressing miR164 have smooth margins. Enhanced leaf serration was observed following the expression of an miR164-resistant CUC2 but not of an miR164-resistant CUC1. Furthermore, CUC2 inactivation abolished serration in mir164a mutants and the wild type, whereas CUC1 inactivation did not. Thus, CUC2 specifically controls leaf margin development. CUC2 and MIR164A are transcribed in overlapping domains at the margins of young leaf primordia, with transcription gradually restricted to the sinus, where the leaf margins become serrated. We suggest that leaf margin development is controlled by a two-step process in Arabidopsis. The pattern of serration is determined first, independently of CUC2 and miR164. The balance between coexpressed CUC2 and MIR164A then determines the extent of serration.

Plant Cell, 2006, 18(11):2929-45.

DOI: 10.1105/tpc.106.045617

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