Leaves are the most important, fundamental units of organogenesis in plants. Although the basic form of a leaf is clearly divided into the leaf blade and leaf petiole, no study has yet revealed how these are differentiated from a leaf primordium. We analyzed the spatiotemporal pattern of mitotic activity in leaf primordia of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) in detail using molecular markers in combination with clonal analysis.We found that the proliferative zone is established after a short interval following the occurrence of a rod-shaped early leaf primordium; it is separated spatially from the shoot apical meristem and seen at the junction region between the leaf blade and leaf petiole and produces both leaf-blade and leaf-petiole cells. This proliferative region in leaf primordia is marked by activity of the ANGUSTIFOLIA3 (AN3) promoter as a whole and seems to be differentiated into several spatial compartments: activities of the CYCLIN D4;2 promoter and SPATULA enhancer mark parts of it specifically. Detailed analyses of the an3 and blade-on-petiole mutations further support the idea that organogenesis of the leaf blade and leaf petiole is critically dependent on the correct spatial regulation of the proliferative region of leaf primordia. Thus, the proliferative zone of leaf primordia is spatially differentiated and supplies both the leaf-blade and leaf-petiole cells.
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