A matter of size: developmental control of organ size in plants

Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2001 Dec;4(6):533-9. doi: 10.1016/s1369-5266(00)00212-0.


The intrinsic size of plant organs is determined by developmental signals, yet the molecular and genetic mechanisms that control organ size are largely unknown. Ongoing functional analysis of Arabidopsis genes is defining important regulators involved in these mechanisms. Key features of this control are the coordinated activation of growth and cell division by growth regulators and the maintenance of meristematic competence by the ANT gene, which acts as an organ-size checkpoint. Alterations of genome size by polyploidization and endoreduplication can reset this checkpoint by ploidy-dependent, epigenetically regulated differential gene expression. In addition, the regulation of polarized growth and phytohormone signaling also affect final organ size. These findings reveal unique aspects of plant organ-size control that are distinct from animal organ-size control.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / anatomy & histology
  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Division
  • Cyclins / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism
  • Organ Specificity
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Polyploidy
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • AINTEGUMENTA protein, Arabidopsis
  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Cyclins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Plant Proteins
  • Transcription Factors