In flowering plants, aging is defined by a series of developmental transitions or phase changes that starts with vegetative growth, and is followed by flowering, culminating in seed production. Tissue senescence and plant death follow seed production in monocarpic plants, while polycarpic plants prolong their life span by maintaining a number of vegetative axillary meristems, thereby allowing subsequent cycles of vegetative and reproductive development.
I will present data showing that the Arabidopsis thaliana AT-HOOK MOTIF CONTAINING NUCLEAR LOCALIZED protein AHL15/REJUVENATOR (RJV) is a suppressor of axillary meristem maturation, with effects on plant shoot architecture and -longevity. Loss of AHL function accelerated plant aging, whereas AHL15/RJV overexpression rejuvenated axillary meristems and converted monocarpic A. thaliana and Nicotiana tabacum into (polycarpic) plants with a prolonged life span and enhanced seed and biomass production. The role of AHL15/RJV in the plant ageing pathway will be discussed.