Uncovering genetic and molecular interactions among floral meristem identity genes inArabidopsis thaliana

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The inflorescence meristem produces floral primordia that remain undifferentiated during the first stages of flower development. Genes controlling floral meristem identity includeLEAFY(LFY),APETALA1(AP1),CAULIFLOWER(CAL),LATE MERISTEM IDENTITY 1(LMI1),SHORT VEGETATIVE PHASE(SVP) andAGAMOUS-LIKE24(AGL24). Thelfymutant shows partial reversions of flowers into inflorescence shoot-like structures and this phenotype is enhanced in thelfy ap1double mutant. Here we show that combining thelfymutant withagl24andsvpsingle mutants or with theagl24 svpdouble mutant enhances thelfyphenotype and that thelfy agl24 svptriple mutant phenocopies thelfy ap1double mutant. Analysis of the molecular interactions betweenLFY,AGL24andSVPshowed thatLFYis a repressor ofAGL24andSVP, whereasLMI1is a positive regulator of these genes. Moreover, AGL24 and SVP positively regulateAP1andLFYby direct binding to their regulatory regions. Since all these genes are important for establishing floral meristem identity, regulatory loops are probably important to maintain the correct relative expression levels of these genes.

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