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Floral stem cells produce a defined number of floral organs before ceasing to be maintained as stem cells. Therefore, floral stem cells offer an ideal model to study the temporal control of stem cell maintenance within a developmental context. AGAMOUS (AG), a MADS domain transcription factor essential for the termination of floral stem cell fate, has long been thought to repress the stem cell maintenance gene WUSCHEL (WUS) indirectly. Here, we uncover a role of Polycomb Group (PcG) genes in the temporally precise repression of WUS expression and termination of floral stem cell fate. We show that AG directly represses WUS expression by binding to the WUS locus and recruiting, directly or indirectly, PcG that methylates histone H3 Lys-27 at WUS. We also show that PcG acts downstream of AG and probably in parallel with the known AG target KNUCKLES to terminate floral stem cell fate. Our studies identify core components of the network governing the temporal program of floral stem cells.
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