CUC1 gene activates the expression of SAM-related genes to induce adventitious shoot formation

Plant J. 2003 Dec;36(5):687-96. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.2003.01911.x.


CUP-SHAPED COTYLEDON (CUC)1 encodes members of the NAC family. These are functionally redundant genes that are involved in shoot apical meristem (SAM) formation and cotyledon separation during embryogenesis in Arabidopsis. We analyzed transgenic plants overexpressing CUC1 (35S::CUC1). The cotyledons of these transgenic seedlings regularly had two basal lobes, small and round epidermal cells between the sinuses, and adventitious SAMs on the adaxial surface of this region. This suggests that CUC1 promotes adventitious SAM formation by maintaining epidermal cells in an undifferentiated state. In 35S::CUC1 cotyledons, the class I knotted-like homeobox (KNOX) genes, including SHOOT MERISTEMLESS (STM) and BREVIPEDICELLUS (BP), which are involved in SAM formation and/or maintenance, were ectopically expressed before adventitious SAM formation. In stm mutants, ectopic expression of CUC1 could not induce adventitious SAMs, whereas they continued to be observed in bp mutants. These results suggest that STM, but not BP, is necessary for the formation of adventitious SAMs in 35S::CUC1 cotyledons. Furthermore, we examined the relationship between CUC1 and ASYMMETRIC LEAVES (AS)1 and AS2. The as1 and as2 mutations genetically enhance 35S::CUC1 phenotypes even in the absence of STM function. Interestingly, the as1 mutation can partially rescue the mutant vegetative development phenotypes in the cuc1 cuc2 double mutant. Our results suggest that CUC1 positively regulates SAM formation not only through STM but also through an STM-independent pathway that is negatively regulated by AS1 and AS2.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Arabidopsis / ultrastructure
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics*
  • Cotyledon / genetics
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / genetics*
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Glucuronidase / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Meristem / genetics*
  • Meristem / growth & development
  • Mutagenesis
  • Phenotype
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Shoots / genetics*
  • Plant Shoots / growth & development
  • Plants, Genetically Modified


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • CUC1 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Knox1 protein, plant
  • Plant Proteins
  • Glucuronidase