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FORMOSA controls cell division and expansion during floral development in Antirrhinummajus

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Control of organ size is the product of coordinated cell division and expansion. In plants where one of these pathways is perturbed, organ size is often unaffected as compensation mechanisms are brought into play. The number of founder cells in organ primordia, dividing cells, and the period of cell proliferation determine cell number in lateral organs. We have identified the Antirrhinum FORMOSA (FO) gene as a specific regulator of floral size. Analysis of cell size and number in the fo mutant, which has increased flower size, indicates that FO is an organ-specific inhibitor of cell division and activator of cell expansion. Increased cell number in fo floral organs correlated with upregulation of genes involved in the cell cycle. In Arabidopsis the AINTEGUMENTA (ANT) gene promotes cell division. In the fo mutant increased cell number also correlates with upregulation of an Antirrhinum ANT-like gene (Am-ANT) in inflorescences that is very closely related to ANT and shares a similar expression pattern, suggesting that they may be functional equivalents. Increased cell proliferation is thought to be compensated for by reduced cell expansion to maintain organ size. In Arabidopsis petal cell expansion is inhibited by the BIGPETAL (BPE) gene, and in the fo mutant reduced cell size corresponded to upregulation of an Antirrhinum BPE-like gene (Am-BPE). Our data suggest that FO inhibits cell proliferation by negatively regulating Am-ANT, and acts upstream of Am-BPE to coordinate floral organ size. This demonstrates that organ size is modulated by the organ-specific control of both general and local gene networks.

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This work was supported by Biocarm (BANANASAI), Fundación Séneca de la Región de Murcia and MEC. Grants from AECI to L.D-B, and the BBSRC to BC are gratefully acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Marcos Egea-Cortines.

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Delgado-Benarroch, L., Causier, B., Weiss, J. et al. FORMOSA controls cell division and expansion during floral development in Antirrhinummajus. Planta 229, 1219–1229 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00425-009-0910-x

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  • Antirrhinum
  • Division
  • Expansion
  • Compensation