Floral organ abscission in Arabidopsis requires the combined activities of three TALE homeodomain transcription factors

J Exp Bot. 2022 Oct 18;73(18):6150-6169. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erac255.


Floral organ abscission is a separation process in which sepals, petals, and stamens detach from the plant at abscission zones. Here, we investigated the collective role of three amino-acid-loop-extension (TALE) homeobox genes ARABIDOPSIS THALIANA HOMEOBOX GENE1 (ATH1), KNAT6 (for KNOTTED LIKE from Arabidopsis thaliana) and KNAT2, which form a module that patterns boundaries under the regulation of BLADE-ON-PETIOLE 1 and 2 (BOP1/2) co-activators. These TALE homeodomain transcription factors were shown to maintain boundaries in the flower, functioning as a unit to coordinate the growth, patterning, and activity of abscission zones. Together with BOP1 and BOP2, ATH1 and its partners KNAT6 and KNAT2 collectively contribute to the differentiation of lignified and separation layers of the abscission zone. The genetic interactions of BOP1/2 and ATH1 with INFLORESCENCE DEFICIENT IN ABSCISSION (IDA) were also explored. We showed that BOP1/2 co-activators and ATH1 converge with the IDA signalling pathway to promote KNAT6 and KNAT2 expression in the abscission zone and cell separation. ATH1 acts as a central regulator in floral organ abscission as it controls the expression of other TALE genes in abscission zone cells.

Keywords: Arabidopsis; BLADE-ON-PETIOLE (BOP) co-regulators; abscission; boundaries; three amino-acid-loop-extension (TALE) transcription factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis Proteins* / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis* / metabolism
  • Flowers
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism
  • Inflorescence / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Transcription Factors
  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Amino Acids
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • KNAT6 protein, Arabidopsis
  • BOP2 protein, Arabidopsis