The balance between cell proliferation and cell differentiation is essential for leaf patterning. However, identification of the factors coordinating leaf patterning and cell growth behavior is challenging. Here, we characterized a temperature-sensitive Arabidopsis mutant with leaf blade and venation defects. We mapped the mutation to the sub-2 allele of the SCRAMBLED/STRUBBELIG (SCM/SUB) receptor-like kinase gene whose functions in leaf development have not been demonstrated. The sub-2 mutant displayed impaired blade development, asymmetric leaf shape and altered venation patterning under high ambient temperature (30°C), but these defects were less pronounced at normal growth temperature (22°C). Loss of SCM/SUB function results in reduced cell proliferation and abnormal cell expansion, as well as altered auxin patterning. SCM/SUB is initially expressed throughout leaf primordia and becomes restricted to the vascular cells, coinciding with its roles in early leaf patterning and venation formation. Furthermore, constitutive expression of the SCM/SUB gene also restricts organ growth by inhibiting the transition from cell proliferation to expansion. We propose the existence of a SCM/SUB-mediated developmental stage-specific signal for leaf patterning, and highlight the importance of the balance between cell proliferation and differentiation for leaf morphogenesis.
© 2012 The Authors. The Plant Journal © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.