• cell division;
  • LEP;
  • lettuce;
  • VAS;
  • vascular tissue


The complex dominant Arabidopsis thaliana mutant lettuce (let) shows the conversion of the leaf petiole into a leaf blade caused by an ectopic leaf blade formation. This is the result of the activation tagging of the LEAFY PETIOLE (LEP) gene encoding an AP2/EREBP-like transcription factor. Here, we report that in addition to this leafy petiole phenotype, the size of the vascular bundles is increased in all aerial organs in let as a result of an increase in the number of xylem, phloem (pro)cambial and pericycle cells. This vascular phenotype is caused by activation tagging of the two genes VASCULAR TISSUE SIZE (VAS) and LEP. These genes are closely linked and arranged in tandem. Activation tagging of LEP only caused a specific increase in the number of xylem cells. This increased xylem cell number, together with the ectopic leaf blade formation, indicates that LEP functions as a cell division-promoting factor. The activation tagging of VAS only resulted in a specific increase in phloem (pro)cambial and pericycle cells. We conclude that activation tagging of LEP and VAS results in additive phenotypes. Insertional mutants for LEP and VAS display wild-type vascular development, indicating the relevance of activation tagging for functional analysis of novel genes involved in plant development.