CLAVATA signaling pathway receptors of Arabidopsis regulate cell proliferation in fruit organ formation as well as in meristems.
The CLAVATA1 (CLV1), CLV2, and CORYNE (CRN) receptors in Arabidopsis thaliana maintain cell proliferation in shoot apical meristems by restricting expression of the transcription factor WUSCHEL (WUS). Previously characterized receptor mutants generate extra fruit and floral organs that are proposed to arise from enlarged floral meristems (FMs). We identified new alleles in clv1, clv2, and crn and found that most mutants produce only extra fruit organs and generate FMs of similar dimensions as wild type. Characterization of gynoecium development in receptor mutants revealed increased cell proliferation and ectopic fruit organ initiation after FM termination. These regions of increased cell division also display expanded expression of the cell proliferation-promoting transcription factor SHOOTMERISTEMLESS (STM), similar to the expansion of WUS expression in the shoot apical meristems of strong clv1 mutants. We also examined genetic interactions between the ERECTA (ER) and BARELY ANY MERISTEM 1 (BAM1) receptor-like kinases and CLV pathway receptors. Our results suggest a model in which CLV1/BAM1 and CLV2/CRN complexes act in separate, parallel pathways in shoot meristems, while the CLV1, CLV2, and CRN receptors function together in a linear pathway during fruit development. These results demonstrate the importance of regulating cell proliferation in plants that undergo organogenesis throughout their life cycle.