Requirement of homeobox gene STIMPY/WOX9 for Arabidopsis meristem growth and maintenance

Curr Biol. 2005 Mar 8;15(5):436-40. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2004.12.079.


Most organs of flowering plants develop postembryonically from groups of pluripotent cells called meristems [1]. The shoot apical meristem (SAM) is specified by two complementary pathways [2-4]. SHOOT MERISTEMLESS (STM; [5]) defines the entire SAM region [6]. WUSCHEL (WUS), on the other hand, functions in a more restricted set of cells to promote stem-cell fate and is regulated by the CLAVATA genes in a negative feedback loop [7-10]. In contrast, little is known about how the growth of the SAM, which increases in size during vegetative development [11], is regulated. We have characterized STIMPY (STIP; also called WOX9 [12]), a homeobox gene required for the growth of the vegetative SAM, in part by positively regulating WUS expression. In addition, STIP is required in several other aerial organs and the root. What sets STIP apart from STM and WUS is that stip mutants can be fully rescued by stimulating the entry into the cell cycle with sucrose. Therefore, STIP is likely to act in all these tissues by maintaining cell division and preventing premature differentiation. Taken together, our findings suggest that STIP identifies a new genetic pathway integrating developmental signals with cell-cycle control.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Division / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • Genes, Homeobox / genetics
  • Genes, Homeobox / physiology*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism*
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Meristem / genetics
  • Meristem / growth & development*
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Mutation / genetics


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • STIMPY protein, Arabidopsis