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Plant architecture is elaborated through the activity of shoot apical meristems (SAMs), which produce repeating units known as phytomers, that are comprised of leaf, node, internode, and axillary bud. Insight into how SAMs function and how individual phytomer components are related to each other can been obtained through characterization of recessive mutants with perturbed shoot development. In this study, we characterized a new mutant to further understand mechanisms underlying shoot development in maize. The filifolium1-0 (ffm1-0) mutants develop narrow leaves on dwarfed shoots. Shoot growth often terminates at the seedling stage from depletion of the SAM, but if plants survive to maturity they are invariably bushy. KN1-like homeobox (KNOX) proteins are inappropriately regulated in mutant apices, adaxial identity is not specified in mutant leaves, and axillary meristems develop precociously. We propose that FFM1 acts to demarcate zones within the SAM so that appropriate fates can be conferred on cells within those zones by other factors. On the basis of the mutant phenotype, we also speculate about different relationships between phytomer components in maize and Arabidopsis.

Type

Journal article

Journal

American journal of botany

Publication Date

09/2009

Volume

96

Pages

1594 - 1602

Addresses

Department of Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3RB, UK.