Increased steady state mRNA levels of the STM and KNAT1 homeobox genes in cytokinin overproducing Arabidopsis thaliana indicate a role for cytokinins in the shoot apical meristem

Plant J. 1999 Jun;18(5):557-63. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.1999.00472.x.


This study investigates the consequences of endogenously enhanced biosynthesis of the plant hormone cytokinin in Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh. Transcriptional control of the bacterial ipt gene by the Drosophila melanogaster hsp70 promoter enabled temperature-dependent increased cytokinin production in transgenic plants. Heat-treated plants accumulated higher levels of unbound and bound zeatin-type cyto-kinins, the latter being preferentially N-conjugated glucosides. Cytokinin overproduction significantly increased the biomass of seedlings. Ipt transgenics had higher steady state mRNA levels of the shoot meristem specifying homeobox genes KNAT1 and STM, similar to the cytokinin-overproducing shoot meristem mutant amp1 (hpt, cop2, pt) This finding, together with previously described phenotypic similarities between transgenic cytokinin-overproducing plants and plants overexpressing the KNAT1 or KN1 genes, suggests that these factors act on the same pathway. We hypothesize that cytokinins act upstream of KNAT1 and STM. The influence of cytokinins on homeobox genes provides a link between the hormone and the developmental genes and indicates a role for cytokinins in the shoot apical meristem.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkyl and Aryl Transferases / biosynthesis
  • Alkyl and Aryl Transferases / genetics
  • Animals
  • Arabidopsis
  • Arabidopsis Proteins*
  • Cytokinins / metabolism*
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genes, Homeobox
  • Heat-Shock Response / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Meristem / anatomy & histology
  • Meristem / physiology*
  • Phenotype
  • Plant Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Plant Shoots / anatomy & histology
  • Plant Shoots / physiology*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • RNA, Plant / analysis


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Cytokinins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • KNAT1 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Plant Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Plant
  • STM protein, Arabidopsis
  • Alkyl and Aryl Transferases
  • adenylate isopentenyltransferase