Genetic analysis of incurvata mutants reveals three independent genetic operations at work in Arabidopsis leaf morphogenesis

Genetics. 2000 Nov;156(3):1363-77. doi: 10.1093/genetics/156.3.1363.


In an attempt to identify genes involved in the control of leaf morphogenesis, we have studied 13 Arabidopsis thaliana mutants with curled, involute leaves, a phenotype herein referred to as Incurvata (Icu), which were isolated by G. Röbbelen and belong to the Arabidopsis Information Service Form Mutants collection. The Icu phenotype was inherited as a single recessive trait in 10 mutants, with semidominance in 2 mutants and with complete dominance in the remaining 1. Complementation analyses indicated that the studied mutations correspond to five genes, representative alleles of which were mapped relative to polymorphic microsatellites. Although most double-mutant combinations displayed additivity of the Icu phenotypes, those of icu1 icu2 and icu3 icu4 double mutants were interpreted as synergistic, which suggests that the five genes studied represent three independent genetic operations that are at work for the leaf to acquire its final form at full expansion. We have shown that icu1 mutations are alleles of the Polycomb group gene CURLY LEAF (CLF) and that the leaf phenotype of the icu2 mutant is suppressed in an agamous background, as is known for clf mutants. In addition, we have tested by means of multiplex RT-PCR the transcription of several floral genes in Icu leaves. Ectopic expression of AGAMOUS and APETALA3 was observed in clf and icu2, but not in icu3, icu4, and icu5 mutants. Taken together, these results suggest that CLF and ICU2 play related roles, the latter being a candidate to belong to the Polycomb group of regulatory genes. We propose that, as flowers evolved, a new major class of genes, including CLF and ICU2, may have been recruited to prevent the expression of floral homeotic genes in the leaves.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / anatomy & histology
  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Chromosome Mapping*
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Genes, Plant
  • Genes, Recessive
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Morphogenesis / genetics
  • Mutation*
  • Phenotype
  • Plant Leaves / anatomy & histology
  • Suppression, Genetic