The liguleless2 gene of maize functions during the transition from the vegetative to the reproductive shoot apex

Plant J. 1999 Aug;19(4):489-95. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.1999.00541.x.


During a maize plant's (Zea mays) development, the shoot apical meristem (SAM) generates an apex that proceeds through different phases: juvenile vegetative, adult vegetative and reproductive. During each phase the structures produced are distinguishable from structures produced during the other phases. In this paper, we demonstrate that the LIGULELESS2 (LG2) function is required for an accurate vegetative to reproductive phase transition. The maize gene liguleless2 (lg2) has been shown to encode a basic-leucine zipper (bZIP) protein and to function in narrowing the region from which the ligule and auricle develop in a typical maize leaf. Here we show that lg2 mutant plants can have reduced long tassel branches, extra vegetative leaves and extra husk leaves when compared to wild-type siblings. This indicates a role for the lg2 gene in the vegetative to reproductive phase transition of the shoot apex. We also discuss a potential role for the lg2 gene in general phase transition processes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Basic-Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors
  • Biomarkers
  • Genes, Plant / genetics
  • Genes, Plant / physiology
  • Genotype
  • Meristem / genetics
  • Meristem / growth & development
  • Mutation
  • Phenotype
  • Plant Leaves / genetics
  • Plant Leaves / growth & development
  • Plant Proteins / chemistry
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / physiology*
  • Plant Shoots / genetics*
  • Plant Shoots / growth & development*
  • Zea mays / genetics*
  • Zea mays / growth & development*


  • Basic-Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors
  • Biomarkers
  • LIGULELESS2 protein, Zea mays
  • Plant Proteins