Angiosperms display a wide variety of inflorescence architectures differing in the positions where flowers or branches arise. The expression of floral meristem identity (FMI) genes determines when and where flowers are formed. In Arabidopsis thaliana, this is regulated via transcription of LEAFY (LFY), which encodes a transcription factor that promotes FMI. We found that this is regulated in petunia (Petunia hybrida) via transcription of a distinct gene, DOUBLE TOP (DOT), a homolog of UNUSUAL FLORAL ORGANS (UFO) from Arabidopsis. Mutation of DOT or its tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) homolog ANANTHA abolishes FMI. Ubiquitous expression of DOT or UFO in petunia causes very early flowering and transforms the inflorescence into a solitary flower and leaves into petals. Ectopic expression of DOT or UFO together with LFY or its homolog ABERRANT LEAF AND FLOWER (ALF) in petunia seedlings activates genes required for identity or outgrowth of organ primordia. DOT interacts physically with ALF, suggesting that it activates ALF by a posttranslational mechanism. Our findings suggest a wider role than previously thought for DOT and UFO in the patterning of flowers and indicate that the different roles of LFY and UFO homologs in the spatiotemporal control of floral identity in distinct species result from their divergent expression patterns. © 2008 American Society of Plant Biologists.
|Number of pages||16|
|Journal||The Plant Cell|
|Publication status||Published - 2008|