CLV1, which encodes a leucine-rich repeat receptor kinase, and CLV3, which encodes a secreted peptide, function in the same genetic pathway to maintain stem cell populations in Arabidopsis shoot apical meristem. Here, we show biochemical evidence, by ligand binding assay and photoaffinity labeling, that the CLV3 peptide directly binds the CLV1 ectodomain with a dissociation constant of 17.5 nM. The CLV1 ectodomain also interacts with the structurally related CLE peptides, with distinct affinities depending on the specific amino acid sequence. Our results provide direct evidence that CLV3 and CLV1 function as a ligand-receptor pair involved in stem cell maintenance.
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