Plastid osmotic stress influences cell differentiation at the plant shoot apex.
This report describes the identification of novel plant genes that are required to ensure co-ordinated post-embryonic development. After germination the tumorous shoot development mutants of Arabidopsis thaliana develop disorganized tumorous tissue instead of organized leaves and stems. This results in green callus-like structures, which are capable of unlimited growth in vitro on hormone-free medium. The tsd mutants are recessive and belong to three complementation groups (tsd1, tsd2, tsd3). The genes were mapped to the bottom of chromosomes 5 and 1, and the top of chromosome 3, respectively. Histological analyses showed that the tsd mutants have different developmental defects. The shoot apical meristem of tsd1 formed only rudimentary leaves and was characterized by a degenerating L1 cell layer. tsd2 mutants had reduced cell adhesion and altered cell division planes in the L2 and L3 cell layers. The tumorous tissue of tsd3 mutants originated from the base of the leaf. Cytokinin levels that are inhibitory to the growth of wild-type seedlings bring about an enhanced growth response in all the tsd mutants. The steady state transcript levels of the histidine kinase CKI1 gene and the KNAT1 and STM homeobox genes were increased in tsd mutants, while mRNA levels of cell cycle genes were not altered. We hypothesize that the TSD gene products negatively regulate cytokinin-dependent meristematic activity during vegetative development of Arabidopsis.