• development;
  • leaf;
  • compound leaves;
  • Cardamine hirsuta ;
  • KNOX genes


Leaves show considerable variation in shape, and may be described as simple, when the leaf is entire, or dissected, when the leaf is divided into individual leaflets. Here, we report that the SIMPLE LEAF3 (SIL3) gene is a novel determinant of leaf shape in Cardamine hirsuta – a dissected-leaved relative of the simple-leaved model species Arabidopsis thaliana. We show that SIL3 is required for leaf growth and leaflet formation but leaf initiation is less sensitive to perturbation of SIL3 activity. SIL3 is further required for KNOX (knotted1-like homeobox) gene expression and localized auxin activity maxima, both of which are known to promote leaflet formation. We cloned SIL3 and showed that it encodes RLI2 (RNase L inhibitor 2), an ATP binding cassette-type ATPase with important roles in ribosome recycling and translation termination that are conserved in eukaryotes and archaea. RLI mutants have not been described in plants to date, and this paper highlights the potential of genetic studies in C. hirsuta to uncover novel gene functions. Our data indicate that leaflet development is sensitive to perturbation of RLI2-dependent aspects of cellular growth, and link ribosome function with dissected-leaf development.