Knotted-like homeobox (KNOX) genes encode important regulators of shoot development in flowering plants. In Arabidopsis, class I KNOX genes are part of a regulatory system that contributes to indeterminacy of shoot development, delimitation of leaf primordia and internode development. In other species, class I KNOX genes have also been recruited in the control of marginal blastozone fractionation during dissected leaf development. Here we report the isolation of class I KNOX genes from two species of the basal eudicot family Papaveraceae, Chelidonium majus and Eschscholzia californica. Sequence comparisons and expression patterns indicate that these genes are orthologs of SHOOTMERISTEMLESS (STM), a class I KNOX gene from Arabidopsis. Both genes are expressed in the center of vegetative and floral shoot apical meristems (SAM), but downregulated at leaf or floral organ initiating sites. While Eschscholzia californica STM (EcSTM) is again upregulated during acropetal pinna formation, in situ hybridization could not detect Chelidonium majus STM (CmSTM) transcripts at any stage of basipetal leaf development, indicating divergent evolution of STM gene function in leaves within Papaveraceae. Immunolocalization of KNOX proteins indicate that other gene family members may control leaf dissection in both species. The contrasting direction of pinna initiation in the two species was also investigated using Histone H4 expression. Leaves at early stages of development did not reveal notable differences in cell division activity of the elongating leaf axis, suggesting that differential meristematic growth may not play a role in determining the observed dissection patterns.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 25, 2005
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