Diversification of genes encoding mei2-like RNA binding proteins in plants

Garrett H. Anderson, Nena D G Alvarez, Carmel Gilman, Daniel C. Jeffares, Vernon C W Trainor, Maureen R. Hanson, Bruce Veit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A predominantly plant-based family of genes encoding RNA binding proteins is defined by the presence of a highly conserved RNA binding motif first described in the mei2 gene of the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. In silico analyses reveal nine mei2-like genes in Arabidopsis thaliana and six in Oryza sativa. These predicted genes group into four distinct clades, based on overall sequence similarity and subfamily-specific sequence elements. In situ analysis show that Arabidopsis genes from one of these clades, TEL1 and TEL2, are specifically expressed in central zone of the shoot apical meristem and the quiescent center of the root apical meristem, suggesting that they may somehow function to maintain indeterminacy in these tissues. By contrast, members of two sister clades, AML1 through AML5, are expressed more broadly, a trend that was confirmed by Q-PCR analysis. mei2-like transcripts with similar sequences showed similar expression patterns, suggesting functional redundancy within the four clades. Phenotypic analyses of lines that contain T-DNA insertions to individual mei2-like genes reveal no obvious phenotypes, further suggesting redundant activities for these gene products.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-670
Number of pages18
JournalPlant Molecular Biology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2004


  • apical meristem
  • cell differentiation
  • cell division
  • evolution
  • mei2
  • RNA binding protein

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