RETINOBLASTOMA RELATED1 mediates germline entry in Arabidopsis
To produce seeds, flowering plants need to specify somatic cells to undergo meiosis. Here, we reveal a regulatory cascade that controls the entry into meiosis starting with a group of redundantly acting cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitors of the KIP-RELATED PROTEIN (KRP) class. KRPs function by restricting CDKA;1–dependent inactivation of the Arabidopsis Retinoblastoma homolog RBR1. In rbr1 and krp triple mutants, designated meiocytes undergo several mitotic divisions, resulting in the formation of supernumerary meiocytes that give rise to multiple reproductive units per future seed. One function of RBR1 is the direct repression of the stem cell factor WUSCHEL (WUS), which ectopically accumulates in meiocytes of triple krp and rbr1 mutants. Depleting WUS in rbr1 mutants restored the formation of only a single meiocyte.