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Plant meristems harbour stem cells, which allow for the continuous production of new organs. Here, an analysis of the role of SQUINT (SQN) in stem cell dynamics in Arabidopsis is reported. A close examination of sqn mutants reveals defects that are very similar to that of weak clavata (clv) mutants, both in the flower meristem (increased number of floral organs, occasional delay in stem cell termination) and in the shoot apical meristem (meristem and central zone enlargement, occasional fasciation). sqn has a very mild effect in a clv mutant background, suggesting that SQN and the CLV genes act in the same genetic pathway. Accordingly, a loss-of-function allele of SQN strongly rescues the meristem abortion phenotype of plants that overexpress CLV3. Altogether, these data suggest that SQN is necessary for proper CLV signalling. SQN was shown to be required for normal accumulation of various miRNAs, including miR172. One of the targets of miR172, APETALA2 (AP2), antagonizes CLV signalling. The ap2-2 mutation strongly suppresses the meristem phenotypes of sqn, indicating that the effect of SQN on stem cell dynamics is largely, but not fully, mediated by the miR172/AP2 tandem. This study refines understanding of the intricate genetic networks that control both stem cell homeostasis and floral stem cell termination, two processes that are critical for the proper development and fertility of the plant. © The Author 2015. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email:


Nathanaël Prunet, Patrice Morel, Priscilla Champelovier, Anne-Marie Thierry, Ioan Negrutiu, Thomas Jack, Christophe Trehin. SQUINT promotes stem cell homeostasis and floral meristem termination in Arabidopsis through APETALA2 and CLAVATA signalling. Journal of experimental botany. 2015 Nov;66(21):6905-16

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PMID: 26269626

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