Novel as1 and as2 defects in leaf adaxial-abaxial polarity reveal the requirement for ASYMMETRIC LEAVES1 and 2 and ERECTA functions in specifying leaf adaxial identity

Development. 2003 Sep;130(17):4097-107. doi: 10.1242/dev.00622.


The shoot apical meristem (SAM) of seed plants is the site at which lateral organs are formed. Once organ primordia initiate from the SAM, they establish polarity along the adaxial-abaxial, proximodistal and mediolateral axes. Among these three axes, the adaxial-abaxial polarity is of primary importance in leaf patterning. In leaf development, once the adaxial-abaxial axis is established within leaf primordia, it provides cues for proper lamina growth and asymmetric development. It was reported previously that the Arabidopsis ASYMMETRIC LEAVES1 (AS1) and ASYMMETRIC LEAVES2 (AS2) genes are two key regulators of leaf polarity. In this work, we demonstrate a new function of the AS1 and AS2 genes in the establishment of adaxial-abaxial polarity by analyzing as1 and as2 alleles in the Landsberg erecta (Ler) genetic background. We provide genetic evidence that the Arabidopsis ERECTA (ER) gene is involved in the AS1-AS2 pathway to promote leaf adaxial fate. In addition, we show that AS1 and AS2 bind to each other, suggesting that AS1 and AS2 may form a complex that regulates the establishment of leaf polarity. We also report the effects on leaf polarity of overexpression of the AS1 or AS2 genes under the control of the cauliflower mosaic virus (CAMV) 35S promoter. Although plants with as1 and as2 mutations have very similar phenotypes, 35S::AS1/Ler and 35S::AS2/Ler transgenic plants showed dramatically different morphologies. A possible model of the AS1, AS2 and ER action in leaf polarity formation is discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism
  • Mutation
  • Plant Leaves / growth & development*
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics*
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / genetics*
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • AS2 protein, Arabidopsis
  • ASYMMETRIC LEAVES1 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • KNAT1 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Transcription Factors
  • ER protein, Arabidopsis
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases