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Journal Article

ZWILLE buffers meristem stability in Arabidopsis thaliana

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Moussian, B., Haecker, A., & Laux, T. (2003). ZWILLE buffers meristem stability in Arabidopsis thaliana. Development Genes and Evolution, 213(11), 534-540. doi:10.1007/s00427-003-0359-z.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000D-2FBD-B
The shoot apical meristem of higher plants consists of a population of stem cells at the tip of the plant body that continuously gives rise to organs such as leaves and flowers. Cells that leave the meristem differentiate and must be replaced to maintain the integrity of the meristem. The balance between differentiation and maintenance is governed both by the environment and the developmental status of the plant. In order to respond to these different stimuli, the meristem has to be plastic thus ensuring the stereotypic shape of the plant body. Meristem plasticity requires the ZWILLE (ZLL) gene. In zll mutant embryos, the apical cells are misspecified causing a variability of the meristem's size and function. Using specific antibodies against ZLL, we show that the zll phenotype is due to the complete absence of the ZLL protein. In immunohistochemical experiments we confirm the observation that ZLL is solely localized in vascular tissue. For a better understanding of the role of ZLL in meristem stability, we analysed the genetic interactions of ZLL with WUSCHEL (WUS) and the CLAVATA1, 2 and 3 (CLV) genes that are involved in size regulation of the meristem. In a zll loss-of-function background wus has a negative effect whereas clv mutations have a positive effect on meristem size. We propose that ZLL buffers meristem stability non-cell-autonomously by ensuring the critical number of apical cells required for proper meristem function.