Journal Article

<i>NFL1</i>, a <i>Nicotiana tabacum</i> <i>LEAFY</i>-Like Gene, Controls Meristem Initiation and Floral Structure

Kelly P. Ahearn, Holly A. Johnson, Detlef Weigel and D. Ry Wagner

in Plant and Cell Physiology

Published on behalf of Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists

Volume 42, issue 10, pages 1130-1139
Published in print October 2001 | ISSN: 0032-0781
Published online October 2001 | e-ISSN: 1471-9053 | DOI:
NFL1, a Nicotiana tabacum LEAFY-Like
Gene, Controls Meristem Initiation and Floral

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  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry


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The Arabidopsis LEAFY (LFY) gene product induces cells of the shoot apical meristem to differentiate into floral primordia by acting as a master regulator of downstream floral homeotic genes. Tobacco, an allotetraploid, possesses two homologous genes, NFL1 and NFL2, which are 97% identical in amino acid sequence and share 73% amino acid sequence identity with LFY. In order to test whether the highly conserved tobacco orthologue, NFL1, shares functional identity with LFY, we created transgenic tobacco and Arabidopsis plants that constitutively express the NFL1 cDNA. Our results indicate that NFL1 plays a critical role in the allocation of meristematic cells that differentiate lateral structures such as leaves and branches, thereby determining the architecture of the wild-type tobacco shoot. NFL1 also regulates floral meristem development and does so through the control of cell proliferation as well as cell identity. Surprisingly, unlike ectopic LFY expression, which can act as a floral trigger, ectopic NFL1 expression does not promote severe precocious flowering in Nicotiana tabacum suggesting that variations in amino acid sequence among members of the LFY-like gene family have led to divergence in the functional roles of these genes.

Keywords: Key words: LEAFY-like genes — Shoot meristem — Flowering.

Journal Article.  6415 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biochemistry ; Molecular and Cell Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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