The shoot apical meristem is responsible for above-ground organ initiation in higher plants, accomplishing continuous organogenesis by maintaining a pool of undifferentiated cells and directing descendant cells toward organ formation. Normally, proliferation and differentiation are balanced, so that the structure and size of the shoot meristem is maintained. However, Arabidopsis plants homozygous for mutations at the CLAVATA1 (CLV1) locus accumulate excess undifferentiated cells. We describe the molecular cloning and expression pattern of the CLV1 gene. It encodes a putative receptor kinase, suggesting a role in signal transduction. The extracellular domain is composed of 21 tandem leucine-rich repeats that resemble leucine-rich repeats found in animal hormone receptors. We provide evidence that CLV1 expression in the inflorescence is specifically associated with meristematic activity.