Regulation of axis determinacy by the Arabidopsis PINHEAD gene

Plant Cell. 2002 Dec;14(12):3029-42. doi: 10.1105/tpc.005132.


Plants produce proximal-distal growth axes with two types of growth potential: they can be indeterminate, in which case growth continues indefinitely, or they can be determinate, in which case growth is limited to the production of a single organ or a discrete set of organs. The indeterminate shoot axes of Arabidopsis pinhead/zwille mutants frequently are transformed to a determinate state. PINHEAD (PNH) is expressed in the central domain of the developing plant: the provascular tissue, the shoot apical meristem, and the adaxial (upper) sides of lateral organ primordia. Here, we show that ectopic expression of PNH on the abaxial (lower) sides of lateral organs results in upward curling of leaf blades. This phenotype correlates with a loss of cell number coordination between the two surfaces of the blade, indicating that ectopic PNH can cause changes in cell division rates. More strikingly, moving PNH expression from the central to the peripheral domain of the embryo causes transformation of the determinate cotyledon axis to an indeterminate state. We propose that growth axes are specified as determinate versus indeterminate in a PNH-mediated step. Our results add to a growing body of evidence that radial positional information is important in meristem formation. These results also indicate that genes regulating cell division and axis determinacy are likely to be among PNH targets.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Arabidopsis / ultrastructure
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • Cotyledon / genetics
  • Cotyledon / growth & development
  • Cotyledon / ultrastructure
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Meristem / genetics
  • Meristem / growth & development
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Mutation
  • Phenotype
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Seeds / genetics
  • Seeds / growth & development


  • AFO protein, Arabidopsis
  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • ZLL protein, Arabidopsis