Plant Inflorescence Architecture: The Formation, Activity, and Fate of Axillary Meristems


Zhu, Y., & Wagner, D. (2020). Plant inflorescence architecture: the formation, activity, and fate of axillary meristems. Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology12(1), a034652.


The above-ground plant body in different plant species can have very distinct forms or architectures that arise by recurrent redeployment of a finite set of building blocks—leaves with axillary meristems, stems or branches, and flowers. The unique architectures of plant inflorescences in different plant families and species, on which this review focuses, determine the reproductive success and yield of wild and cultivated plants. Major contributors to the inflorescence architecture are the activity and developmental trajectories adopted by axillary meristems, which determine the degree of branching and the number of flowers formed. Recent advances in genetic and molecular analyses in diverse flowering plants have uncovered both common regulatory principles and unique players and/or regulatory interactions that underlie inflorescence architecture. Modulating activity of these regulators has already led to yield increases in the field. Additional insight into the underlying regulatory interactions and principles will not only uncover how their rewiring resulted in altered plant form, but will also enhance efforts at optimizing plant architecture in desirable ways in crop species.

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