Gene networks controlling Arabidopsis thaliana flower development




The formation of flowers is one of the main models for studying the regulatory mechanisms that underlie plant development and evolution. Over the past three decades, extensive genetic and molecular analyses have led to the identification of a large number of key floral regulators and to detailed insights into how they control flower morphogenesis. In recent years, genome-wide approaches have been applied to obtaining a global view of the gene regulatory networks underlying flower formation. Furthermore, mathematical models have been developed that can simulate certain aspects of this process and drive further experimentation. Here, we review some of the main findings made in the field of Arabidopsis thaliana flower development, with an emphasis on recent advances. In particular, we discuss the activities of the floral organ identity factors, which are pivotal for the specification of the different types of floral organs, and explore the experimental avenues that may elucidate the molecular mechanisms and gene expression programs through which these master regulators of flower development act.