The rotunda2 mutants identify a role for the LEUNIG gene in vegetative leaf morphogenesis

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Abstract

Leaf development in Arabidopsis thaliana is considered to be a two-step process. In the first step, a leaf primordium is formed that involves a switch from indeterminate to leaf developmental fate in the shoot apical meristem cells. The second step, known as leaf morphogenesis, consists of post-initiation developmental events such as patterned cell proliferation, cell expansion, and cell differentiation. The results are presented of the molecular and genetic analyses of the rotunda2 (ron2) mutants of Arabidopsis, which were isolated based on their wide and serrated vegetative leaf lamina. The RON2 gene was positionally cloned and was identical to LEUNIG (LUG); it encodes a transcriptional co-repressor that has been described to affect flower development. Morphological and histological analyses of expanded leaves indicated that RON2 (LUG) acts at later stages of leaf development by restricting cell expansion during leaf growth. Real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction was used to quantify the expression of KNOX, WUSCHEL, YABBY3, LEAFY, ASYMMETRIC LEAVES, and GIBBERELLIN OXIDASE genes in expanding and fully expanded rosette leaf laminas of the wild type and ron2 and lug mutants. SHOOTMERISTEMLESS was expressed in wild-type leaves and down-regulated in the mutants. The results indicate that RON2 (LUG) has a function in later stages of leaf development.

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