New tools - wounding of gerbera head meristems

Our paper "Repatterning of the inflorescence meristem in Gerbera hybrida after wounding" describes development of mechanical and laser-ablation based wounding methods applied to meristems of DR5 auxin reporter lines. Our future studies aim to apply these methods to understand the mechanisms of how meristem patterning is re-established at the wound margin.

Teng Zhang, Feng Wang and Paula Elomaa:  Journal of Plant Research, JPR Symposium (Beyond Fibonacci Patterns and the Golden Angle: Phyllotactic Variations and their Cellular Origin)

The Asteraceae plant family is characterized by inflorescences, called flower heads or capitula that may combine hundreds of individual florets into a single flower-like structure. The florets are arranged in a regular phyllotactic pattern with Fibonacci numbers of left- and right-winding spirals. Such a pattern may be disrupted due to physical constraints or by wounding occurring during the early meristem development. Recovery from wounding re-establishes patterning although the mechanisms have remained elusive. In this study, we applied Gerbera hybrida as a model system and established methods to conduct wounding experiments either with syringe needles or using laser ablation combined with live imaging of head meristems. By revisiting the historical experiments in sunflower, we conducted wounding to transgenic auxin reporter lines of gerbera and followed the recovery of cellular growth and meristem patterning. We show that wounding disrupted the expression of the gerbera CLAVATA3 (GhCLV3) gene that marks the undifferentiated meristematic region and led to de novo re-initiation of patterning at the wound margin. During the recovery growth, three to five layers of elongated cells showing periclinal cell division planes and lacking auxin signal were formed at the wound rim. DR5 auxin signal was shown to localize and form regularly spaced maxima in a distance from the wound rim. Consequently, spiral pattern of contact parastichies was re-established by stacking of new auxin maxima on top of the previous ones. The developed methods facilitate future studies on understanding the molecular mechanisms of de novo patterning of meristems.

This work was supported by the Academy of Finland (grant 1310318 to Paula Elomaa) and Finnish Cultural Foundation (grant 00201200 to Teng Zhang).