miR172 regulates stem cell fate and defines the inner boundary of APETALA3 and PISTILLATA expression domain in Arabidopsis floral meristems

Plant J. 2007 Sep;51(5):840-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2007.03181.x. Epub 2007 Jun 15.


In Arabidopsis, two floral homeotic genes APETALA2 (AP2) and AGAMOUS (AG) specify the identities of perianth and reproductive organs, respectively, in flower development. The two genes act antagonistically to restrict each other to their proper domains of action within the floral meristem. In addition to AG, which antagonizes AP2, miR172, a microRNA, serves as a negative regulator of AP2. In this study, we showed that AG and miR172 have distinct functions in flower development and that they largely act independently in the negative regulation of AP2. We uncovered functions of miR172-mediated repression of AP2 in the regulation of floral stem cells and in the delineation of the expression domain of another class of floral homeotic genes. Given the antiquity of miR172 in land plants, our findings have implications for the recruitment of a microRNA in the building of a flower in evolution.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • AGAMOUS Protein, Arabidopsis / genetics
  • AGAMOUS Protein, Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development*
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis / physiology
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Body Patterning / physiology
  • Flowers / growth & development*
  • Flowers / metabolism
  • Flowers / physiology
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genes, Plant
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism*
  • MADS Domain Proteins / genetics
  • MADS Domain Proteins / metabolism
  • Meristem / physiology*
  • MicroRNAs / physiology*
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic


  • AGAMOUS Protein, Arabidopsis
  • APETALA 3 protein, Arabidopsis
  • APETALA2 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • MADS Domain Proteins
  • MicroRNAs
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • PISTILLATA protein, Arabidopsis