The shoot and root apical meristems (SAM and RAM) formed during embryogenesis are crucial for postembryonic plant development. We report the identification of POPCORN (PCN), a gene required for embryo development and meristem organization in Arabidopsis thaliana. Map-based cloning revealed that PCN encodes a WD-40 protein expressed both during embryo development and postembryonically in the SAM and RAM. The two pcn alleles identified in this study are temperature sensitive, showing defective embryo development when grown at 22 degrees C that is rescued when grown at 29 degrees C. In pcn mutants, meristem-specific expression of WUSCHEL (WUS), CLAVATA3, and WUSCHEL-RELATED HOMEOBOX5 is not maintained; SHOOTMERISTEMLESS, BODENLOS (BDL) and MONOPTEROS (MP) are misexpressed. Several findings link PCN to auxin signaling and meristem function: ectopic expression of DR5(rev):green fluorescent protein (GFP), pBDL:BDL-GFP, and pMP:MP-beta-glucuronidase in the meristem; altered polarity and expression of pPIN1:PIN1-GFP in the apical domain of the developing embryo; and resistance to auxin in the pcn mutants. The bdl mutation rescued embryo lethality of pcn, suggesting that improper auxin response is involved in pcn defects. Furthermore, WUS, PINFORMED1, PINOID, and TOPLESS are dosage sensitive in pcn, suggesting functional interaction. Together, our results suggest that PCN functions in the auxin pathway, integrating auxin signaling in the organization and maintenance of the SAM and RAM.
- stem-cell niche
- shoot meristem