Friday, August 08, 2008

Flower primordium formation at the Arabidopsis shoot apex: quantitative analysis of surface geometry and growth


Geometry changes, especially surface expansion, accompanying flower primordium formation are investigated at the reproductive shoot apex of Arabidopsis with the aid of a non-invasive replica method and a 3-D reconstruction algorithm. The observed changes are characteristic enough to differentiate the early development of flower primordium in Arabidopsis into distinct stages. Primordium formation starts from the fast and anisotropic growth at the periphery of the shoot apical meristem, with the maximum extension in the meridional direction. Surprisingly, the primordium first becomes a shallow crease, and it is only later that this shape changes into a bulge. The bulge is formed from the shallow crease due to slower and less anisotropic growth than at the onset of primordium formation. It is proposed that the shallow crease is the first axil, i.e. the axil of a putative rudimentary bract subtending the flower primordium proper, while the flower primordium proper is the bulge formed at the bottom of this axil. At the adaxial side of the bulge, the second axil (a narrow and deep crease) is formed setting the boundary between the flower primordium proper and the shoot apical meristem. Surface growth, leading to the formation of the second axil, is slow and anisotropic. This is similar to the previously described growth pattern at the boundary of the leaf primordium in Anagallis. Key words: Arabidopsis, flower primordium, reproductive shoot apex, surface curvature, surface growth Dorota Kwiatkowska. E-mail:

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