Lateral plant organs, particularly leaves, initiate at the flanks of the shoot apical meristem (SAM) following auxin maxima signals; however, little is known about the underlying mechanisms. Here, we show that tomato leafless (lfs) mutants fail to produce cotyledons and leaves and grow a naked pin while maintaining an active SAM. A similar phenotype was observed among pin-like shoots induced by polar auxin transport inhibitors such as 2,3,5-triiodobenzoic acid (TIBA). Both types of pin-like shoots showed reduced expression of primordia markers as well as abnormal auxin distribution, as evidenced by expression of the auxin reporters pPIN1: PIN1: GFP and DR5: YFP. Upon auxin microapplication, both lfs meristems and TIBA-pin apices activated DR5: YFP expression with similar kinetics; however, only lfs plants failed to concurrently initiate leaf primordia. We found that LFS encodes the single tomato ortholog of Arabidopsis DORNRONSCHEN (DRN) and DRN-like (DRNL) genes and is transiently expressed at incipient and young primordia, overlapping with auxin response maxima. LFS is rapidly induced by auxin application, implying feed-forward activity between LFS and auxin signals. However, driving LFS at auxin response maxima sites using the DR5 promoter fails to fully rescue lfs plants, suggesting that additional, auxin-independent regulation is needed. Indeed, extended GCC-box elements upstream of LFS drove primordia-specific expression in a LFS-dependent but auxin-independent manner. We thus suggest that LFS transiently acts at the site of primordia initiation, where it provides a specific context to auxin response maxima culminating in leaf primordia initiation.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences Of The United States Of America-Physical Sciences|
|Early online date||7 Mar 2017|
|State||Published - 21 Mar 2017|