Pedicel length and orientation (angle) contribute to the diversity of inflorescence architecture, and are important for optimal positioning of the flowers. However, relatively little is known about pedicel development. We previously described the Arabidopsis CORYMBOSA1 (CRM1)/BIG gene, which affects inflorescence architecture by controlling pedicel elongation and orientation. Here, we performed a suppressor screen using the partial loss-of-function allele crm1-13 to identify genes and pathways that affect pedicel development. We identified a hypomorph allele of the meristem identity regulator LEAFY (LFY) as the suppressor. Consistent with this, crm1 pedicels had elevated LFY levels and conditional gain of LFY function produced downward-bending pedicels. Steroid activation of 35S:LFY-GR plants caused a reduction in the cortical cell length in the abaxial domain and additional defects associated with adaxialization. Further analyses of loss of LFY function revealed that LFY is required for reduced cortical cell elongation at the adaxial side of the pedicel base. Defects in conditional LFY gain-of-function pedicels were correlated with decreased BREVIPEDICELLUS (BP) expression, while ASYMMETRIC LEAVES2 (AS2), a transcriptional repressor of BP, and REVOLUTA, a promoter of adaxial cell fate, were highly and ectopically expressed in LFY gain-of-function pedicels. LFY bound to cis-regulatory regions upstream of AS2, and as2 mutations partially suppressed the pedicel length and orientation defects caused by increased LFY activity. These data suggest that LFY activity promotes adaxial cell fate and hence the proper orientation and length of the pedicel partly by directly activating AS2 expression, which suppresses BP expression.
© 2011 The Authors. The Plant Journal © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.