Arabidopsis as a Model System for Analysis of Leaf Senescence and Inflorescence-Meristem Longevity

  • Linda L. Hensel
  • Anthony B. Bleecker


The longevity of the Arabidopsis plant is a function of both the life span of the somatic tissue and the extent to which the meristems produce new somatic tissues. We have chosen to study the leaf as a model for somatic-tissue senescence, and the primary inflorescence meristem as a model for meristem longevity. Under constant light, temperature and humidity, we found that the individual adult rosette leaves and the primary inflorescence meristem have a determined life span. Arabidopsis’ life strategy is monocarpic, meaning the plant dies in association with the cessation of reproduction. We asked if senescence ensued as a result of reproduction by determining if we could uncouple reproduction from senescence. By analyzing single-gene mutants either delayed or defective in reproduction, we found no relationship between rosette-leaf life span and reproduction. In contrast, we did find that primary inflorescence-meristem longevity is nearly doubled in a male-sterile line where reproduction does not occur. We are using both individual leaf life spans and primary meristem longevity as markers to determine the role of heritable traits in the regulation of senescence and whole plant longevity. We are comparing leaf senescence and meristem proliferative ability in different ecotypes, existing developmental and hormonal mutants, and newly isolated mutants.


Life Span Somatic Tissue Rosette Leave Inflorescence Meristem Cauline Leaf 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Linda L. Hensel
    • 1
  • Anthony B. Bleecker
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BotanyUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA

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