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Expression of CENTRORADIALIS (CEN) and CEN-Like Genes in Tobacco Reveals a Conserved Mechanism Controlling Phase Change in Diverse Species

Iraida Amaya, Oliver J. Ratcliffe and Desmond J. Bradley
The Plant Cell
Vol. 11, No. 8 (Aug., 1999), pp. 1405-1417
DOI: 10.2307/3870971
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3870971
Page Count: 13
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Expression of CENTRORADIALIS (CEN) and CEN-Like Genes in Tobacco Reveals a Conserved Mechanism Controlling Phase Change in Diverse Species
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Abstract

Plant species exhibit two primary forms of flowering architecture, namely, indeterminate and determinate. Antirrhinum is an indeterminate species in which shoots grow indefinitely and only generate flowers from their periphery. Tobacco is a determinate species in which shoot meristems terminate by converting to a flower. We show that tobacco is responsive to the CENTRORADIALIS (CEN) gene, which is required for indeterminate growth of the shoot meristem in Antirrhinum. Tobacco plants overexpressing CEN have an extended vegetative phase, delaying the switch to flowering. Therefore, CEN defines a conserved system controlling shoot meristem identity and plant architecture in diverse species. To understand the underlying basis for differences between determinate and indeterminate architectures, we isolated CEN-like genes from tobacco (CET genes). In tobacco, the CET genes most similar to CEN are not expressed in the main shoot meristem; their expression is restricted to vegetative axillary meristems. As vegetative meristems develop into flowering shoots, CET genes are downregulated as floral meristem identity genes are upregulated. Our results suggest a general model for tobacco, Antirrhinum, and Arabidopsis, whereby the complementary expression patterns of CEN-like genes and floral meristem identity genes underlie different plant architectures.

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