The role of ARGONAUTE1 (AGO1) in meristem formation and identity

Catherine A Kidner, Robert A Martienssen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ARGONAUTE gene family is involved in the regulation of gene expression via the RNAi Silencing Complex (RISC). microRNA (miRNA) are 20-22bp RNAs that direct RISC to target genes. Several miRNA have been characterized in plants. Their roles include control of flowering time, floral organ identity, cell division patterns, and leaf polarity. ARGONAUTE1 (AGO1) is required for stem cell function and organ polarity, as is the closely related protein PINHEAD/ZWILLE (PNH/ZLL). Through phenotypic and double mutant analysis, we show that AGO1 regulates stem cell function via SHOOT MERISTEMLESS (STM). CUPSHAPED COTYLEDONS1 and 2 (CUC1 and CUC2) positively regulate STM and are targets of miRNA. The effect of AGO1 on leaf polarity is dependent, in part, on its role in meristem function revealed by interactions with ASYMMETRIC LEAVES1(AS1). AGO1 is required for full expression of LEAFY (LFY), APETALA1 (AP1) and AGAMOUS (AG). Flowering time is unaffected but floral meristem identity is partially restored in a curlyleaf (clf) background and this is not due to clf's affects on AG expression. CLF is over expressed in ago1, showing that the RNAi pathway regulates polycomb-type epigenetic modifiers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)504-17
Number of pages14
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • Alleles
  • Arabidopsis
  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Argonaute Proteins
  • Chromatin
  • Gene Silencing
  • Genotype
  • Meristem
  • MicroRNAs
  • Microscopy
  • Mutation
  • Phenotype
  • Plant Proteins
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • RNA
  • RNA Interference
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Stem Cells
  • Time Factors


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