Cell elongation in plants requires addition and re-arrangements of cell wall components. Even if some protein families have been shown to play roles in these events, a global picture of proteins present in cell walls of elongating cells is still missing. A proteomic study was performed on etiolated hypocotyls of Arabidopsis used as model of cells undergoing elongation followed by growth arrest within a short time.
Two developmental stages (active growth and after growth arrest) were compared. A new strategy consisting of high performance cation exchange chromatography and mono-dimensional electrophoresis was established for separation of cell wall proteins. This work allowed identification of 137 predicted secreted proteins, among which 51 had not been identified previously. Apart from expected proteins known to be involved in cell wall extension such as xyloglucan endotransglucosylase-hydrolases, expansins, polygalacturonases, pectin methylesterases and peroxidases, new proteins were identified such as proteases, proteins related to lipid metabolism and proteins of unknown function.
This work highlights the CWP dynamics that takes place between the two developmental stages. The presence of proteins known to be related to cell wall extension after growth arrest showed that these proteins may play other roles in cell walls. Finally, putative regulatory mechanisms of protein biological activity are discussed from this global view of cell wall proteins.
Background and Aims
Hypocotyls are a commonly used model to study primary growth in plants, since post-germinative hypocotyls increase in size by cell elongation rather than cell division. Flax hypocotyls produce phloem fibres in bundles one to two cell layers thick, parallel to the protoxylem poles of the stele. Cell wall deposition within these cells occurs rapidly at a well-defined stage of development. The aim was to identify transcripts associated with distinct stages of hypocotyl and phloem fibre development.
Stages of flax hypocotyl development were defined by analysing hypocotyl length in relation to fibre secondary wall deposition. Selected stages of development were used in microarray analyses to identify transcripts involved in the transition from elongation to secondary cell wall deposition in fibres. Expression of specific genes was confirmed by qRT-PCR and by enzymatic assays.
Genes enriched in the elongation phase included transcripts related to cell-wall modification or primary-wall deposition. Transcripts specifically enriched at the transition between elongation and secondary wall deposition included β-galactosidase and arabinogalactan proteins. Later stages of wall development showed an increase in secondary metabolism-related transcripts, chitinases and glycosyl hydrolases including KORRIGAN. Microarray analysis also identified groups of transcription factors enriched at one or more stages of fibre development. Subsequent analysis of a differentially expressed β-galactosidase confirmed that the post-elongation increase in β-galactosidase enzyme activity was localized to phloem fibres.
Transcripts were identified associated with specific stages of hypocotyl development, in which phloem fibre cells were undergoing thickening of secondary walls. Temporal and spatial regulation of β-galactosidase activity suggests a role for this enzyme in remodelling of flax bast fibre cell walls during secondary cell wall deposition.
Bast; fibre; flax; hypocotyl; Linum usitatissimum; phloem; microarray; galactosidase
The disulfated peptide growth factor phytosulfokine-α (PSK-α) is perceived by LRR receptor kinases. In this study, a role for PSK signaling through PSK receptor PSKR1 in Arabidopsis thaliana hypocotyl cell elongation is established. Hypocotyls of etiolated pskr1-2 and pskr1-3 seedlings, but not of pskr2-1 seedlings were shorter than wt due to reduced cell elongation. Treatment with PSK-α did not promote hypocotyl growth indicating that PSK levels were saturating. Tyrosylprotein sulfotransferase (TPST) is responsible for sulfation and hence activation of the PSK precursor. The tpst-1 mutant displayed shorter hypocotyls with shorter cells than wt. Treatment of tpst-1 seedlings with PSK-α partially restored elongation growth in a dose-dependent manner. Hypocotyl elongation was significantly enhanced in tpst-1 seedlings at nanomolar PSK-α concentrations. Cell expansion was studied in hypocotyl protoplasts. WT and pskr2-1 protoplasts expanded in the presence of PSK-α in a dose-dependent manner. By contrast, pskr1-2 and pskr1-3 protoplasts were unresponsive to PSK-α. Protoplast swelling in response to PSK-α was unaffected by ortho-vanadate, which inhibits the plasma membrane H+-ATPase. In maize (Zea mays L.), coleoptile protoplast expansion was similarly induced by PSK-α in a dose-dependent manner and was dependent on the presence of K+ in the media. In conclusion, PSK-α signaling of hypocotyl elongation and protoplast expansion occurs through PSKR1 and likely involves K+ uptake, but does not require extracellular acidification by the plasma membrane H+-ATPase.
Many processes critical to plant growth and development are regulated by the hormone auxin. Auxin responses are initiated through activation of a transcriptional response mediated by the TIR1/AFB family of F-box protein auxin receptors as well as the AUX/IAA and ARF families of transcriptional regulators. However, there is little information on how auxin regulates a specific cellular response. To begin to address this question, we have focused on auxin regulation of cell expansion in the Arabidopsis hypocotyl. We show that auxin-mediated hypocotyl elongation is dependent upon the TIR1/AFB family of auxin receptors and degradation of AUX/IAA repressors. We also use microarray studies of elongating hypocotyls to show that a number of growth-associated processes are activated by auxin including gibberellin biosynthesis, cell wall reorganization and biogenesis, and others. Our studies indicate that GA biosynthesis is required for normal response to auxin in the hypocotyl but that the overall transcriptional auxin output consists of PIF-dependent and -independent genes. We propose that auxin acts independently from and interdependently with PIF and GA pathways to regulate expression of growth-associated genes in cell expansion.
WUSCHEL (WUS) is essential for preventing stem cell differentiation in Arabidopsis. Here we report that in addition to its functions in meristematic stem cell maintenance, WUS is involved in the regulation of cell division. The WUS gain-of-function mutant, stem ectopic flowers (sef), displayed elongated hypocotyls, whereas the loss-of-function wus-1 mutant had shortened hypocotyls. The long hypocotyl in sef was due to the presence of more cells, rather than increased cell elongation. Microscopic observation, flow cytometry assays, quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR), and histochemical staining of CycB1;1::GUS supported the hypothesis that ectopic cell division occurred in the sef hypocotyls after germination. Both immunoblot and qRT-PCR results showed that WUS was ectopically expressed in sef hypocotyls. Luciferase activity, chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) and electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) showed that GLUTAMINE-RICH PROTEIN 23 (GRP23) expression can be activated by WUS and that GRP23 is a direct target gene of WUS. The phenotypes of 35S::GRP23 plants and GRP23 knockdown lines supported the notion that GRP23 mediates the effects of WUS on hypocotyl length. Together, our data suggest that ectopic expression of WUS in hypocotyl controls cell division through its target gene GRP23.
Critical responses to developmental or environmental stimuli are mediated by different transcription factors, including members of the ERF, bZIP, MYB, MYC, and WRKY families. Of these, MYB genes play roles in many developmental processes. The overexpression of one MYB gene, MYBH, significantly increased hypocotyl elongation in Arabidopsis thaliana plants grown in the light, and the expression of this gene increased markedly in the dark. The MYBH protein contains a conserved motif, R/KLFGV, which was implicated in transcriptional repression. Interestingly, the gibberellin biosynthesis inhibitor paclobutrazol blocked the increase in hypocotyl elongation in seedlings that overexpressed MYBH. Moreover, the function of MYBH was dependent on phytochrome-interacting factor (PIF) proteins. Taken together, these results suggest that hypocotyl elongation is regulated by a delicate and efficient mechanism in which MYBH expression is triggered by challenging environmental conditions such as darkness, leading to an increase in PIF accumulation and subsequent enhanced auxin biosynthesis. These results indicate that MYBH is one of the molecular components that regulate hypocotyl elongation in response to darkness.
Arabidopsis; auxin; hypocotyl elongation; MYBH; PIF; photomorphogenesis.
Different strategies (genetics, biochemistry, and proteomics) can be used to study proteins involved in cell biogenesis. The availability of the complete sequences of several plant genomes allowed the development of transcriptomic studies. Although the expression patterns of some Arabidopsis thaliana genes involved in cell wall biogenesis were identified at different physiological stages, detailed microarray analysis of plant cell wall genes has not been performed on any plant tissues. Using transcriptomic and bioinformatic tools, we studied the regulation of cell wall genes in Arabidopsis stems, i.e. genes encoding proteins involved in cell wall biogenesis and genes encoding secreted proteins.
Transcriptomic analyses of stems were performed at three different developmental stages, i.e., young stems, intermediate stage, and mature stems. Many genes involved in the synthesis of cell wall components such as polysaccharides and monolignols were identified. A total of 345 genes encoding predicted secreted proteins with moderate or high level of transcripts were analyzed in details. The encoded proteins were distributed into 8 classes, based on the presence of predicted functional domains. Proteins acting on carbohydrates and proteins of unknown function constituted the two most abundant classes. Other proteins were proteases, oxido-reductases, proteins with interacting domains, proteins involved in signalling, and structural proteins. Particularly high levels of expression were established for genes encoding pectin methylesterases, germin-like proteins, arabinogalactan proteins, fasciclin-like arabinogalactan proteins, and structural proteins. Finally, the results of this transcriptomic analyses were compared with those obtained through a cell wall proteomic analysis from the same material. Only a small proportion of genes identified by previous proteomic analyses were identified by transcriptomics. Conversely, only a few proteins encoded by genes having moderate or high level of transcripts were identified by proteomics.
Analysis of the genes predicted to encode cell wall proteins revealed that about 345 genes had moderate or high levels of transcripts. Among them, we identified many new genes possibly involved in cell wall biogenesis. The discrepancies observed between results of this transcriptomic study and a previous proteomic study on the same material revealed post-transcriptional mechanisms of regulation of expression of genes encoding cell wall proteins.
Despite the economic importance of grasses as food, feed, and energy crops, little is known about the genes that control their cell wall synthesis, assembly, and remodelling. Here a detailed transcriptome analysis that allowed the identification of genes involved in grass cell wall biogenesis is provided. Differential gene expression profiling, using maize oligonucleotide arrays, was used to identify genes differentially expressed between an elongating internode, containing cells exhibiting primary cell wall synthesis, and an internode that had just ceased elongation and in which many cells were depositing secondary cell wall material. This is one of only a few studies specifically aimed at the identification of cell wall-related genes in grasses. Analysis identified new candidate genes for a role in primary and secondary cell wall biogenesis in grasses. The results suggest that many proteins involved in cell wall processes during normal development are also recruited during defence-related cell wall remodelling events. This work provides a platform for studies in which candidate genes will be functionally tested for involvement in cell wall-related processes, increasing our knowledge of cell wall biogenesis and its regulation in grasses. Since several grasses are currently being developed as lignocellulosic feedstocks for biofuel production, this improved understanding of grass cell wall biogenesis is timely, as it will facilitate the manipulation of traits favourable for sustainable food and biofuel production.
Biofuel; cell wall; defence; grasses; lignocellulose; microarray; Zea mays
Cell elongation is mainly limited by the extensibility of the cell wall. Dicotyledonous primary (growing) cell walls contain cellulose, xyloglucan, pectin and proteins, but little is known about how each polymer class contributes to the cell wall mechanical properties that control extensibility.
We present evidence that the degree of pectin methyl-esterification (DE%) limits cell growth, and that a minimum level of about 60% DE is required for normal cell elongation in Arabidopsis hypocotyls. When the average DE% falls below this level, as in two gibberellic acid (GA) mutants ga1-3 and gai, and plants expressing pectin methyl-esterase (PME1) from Aspergillus aculeatus, then hypocotyl elongation is reduced.
Low average levels of pectin DE% are associated with reduced cell elongation, implicating PMEs, the enzymes that regulate DE%, in the cell elongation process and in responses to GA. At high average DE% other components of the cell wall limit GA-induced growth.
Along the root axis of Arabidopsis thaliana, cells pass through different developmental stages. In the apical meristem repeated cycles of division increase the numbers of cells. Upon leaving the meristem, these cells pass the transition zone where they are physiologically and mechanically prepared to undergo subsequent rapid elongation. During the process of elongation epidermal cells increase their length by 300% in a couple of hours. When elongation ceases, the cells acquire their final size, shape and functions (in the differentiation zone). Ethylene administered as its precursor 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC) is capable of inhibiting elongation in a concentration-dependent way. Using a microarray analysis, genes and/or processes involved in this elongation arrest are identified.
Using a CATMA-microarray analysis performed on control and 3h ACC-treated roots, 240 differentially expressed genes were identified. Quantitative Real-Time RT-PCR analysis of the 10 most up and down regulated genes combined with literature search confirmed the accurateness of the analysis. This revealed that inhibition of cell elongation is, at least partly, caused by restricting the events that under normal growth conditions initiate elongation and by increasing the processes that normally stop cellular elongation at the end of the elongation/onset of differentiation zone.
ACC interferes with cell elongation in the Arabidopsis thaliana roots by inhibiting cells from entering the elongation process and by immediately stimulating the formation of cross-links in cell wall components, diminishing the remaining elongation capacity. From the analysis of the differentially expressed genes, it becomes clear that many genes identified in this response, are also involved in several other kind of stress responses. This suggests that many responses originate from individual elicitors, but that somewhere in the downstream signaling cascade, these are converged to a ’common pathway’. Furthermore, several potential keyplayers, such as transcription factors and auxin-responsive genes, were identified by the microarray analysis. They await further analysis to reveal their exact role in the control of cell elongation.
ACC; Arabidopsis thaliana; Development; Elongation control; Ethylene; Microarray analysis; Root growth
The root of Arabidopsis thaliana is used as a model system to unravel the molecular nature of cell elongation and its arrest. From a micro-array performed on roots that were treated with aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC), the precursor of ethylene, a Small auxin-up RNA (SAUR)-like gene was found to be up regulated. As it appeared as the 76th gene in the family, it was named SAUR76. Root and leaf growth of overexpression lines ectopically expressing SAUR76 indicated the possible involvement of the gene in the division process. Using promoter::GUS and GFP lines strong expression was seen in endodermal and pericycle cells at the end of the elongation zone and during several stages of lateral root primordia development. ACC and IAA/NAA were able to induce a strong up regulation of the gene and changed the expression towards cortical and even epidermal cells at the beginning of the elongation zone. Confirmation of this up regulation of expression was delivered using qPCR, which also indicated that the expression quickly returned to normal levels when the inducing IAA-stimulus was removed, a behaviour also seen in other SAUR genes. Furthermore, confocal analysis of protein-GFP fusions localized the protein in the nucleus, cytoplasm and plasma membrane. SAUR76 expression was quantified in several mutants in ethylene and auxin-related pathways, which led to the conclusion that the expression of SAUR76 is mainly regulated by the increase in auxin that results from the addition of ACC, rather than by ACC itself.
In Arabidopsis thaliana, the circadian clock regulates the photoperiodic plant growth including the elongation of hypocotyls in a short-days (SDs)-specific manner. The clock-controlled PHYTOCHROME-INTERACTING FACTOR 4 (PIF4) gene encoding a basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor plays crucial roles in this regulation. The SDs-specific elongation of hypocotyls is best explained by accumulation of the active PIF4 proteins at the end of night specifically in SDs due to coincidence between internal (circadian clock) and external (photoperiod) cues. However, this external coincidence model was challenged with the recent finding that the elongation of hypocotyls is markedly promoted at high growth temperature (28˚C) even in long-days (LDs), implying that the model to explain the photoperiodic response of plant architecture appears to be conditional on ambient temperature. With regard to this problem, the results of this and previous studies showed that the model holds under a wide range of ambient temperature conditions (16˚C to 28˚C). We propose that the circadian clock and PIF4-mediated external coincidence mechanism coordinately integrates both of the cues from seasonal changes in photoperiod and temperature to regulate plant growth in natural habitats.
Arabidopsis thaliana; circadian clock; external coincidence; hormone signaling; light signaling; photomorphogenesis
The pasticcino (pas) mutants of Arabidopsis thaliana are a new class of plant developmental mutants; members of this class show ectopic cell proliferation in cotyledons, extra layers of cells in the hypocotyl, and an abnormal apical meristem. This phenotype is correlated with both cell division and cell elongation defects. There are three complementation groups of pas mutants (pas1, pas2, and pas3, with, respectively 2, 1, and 4 alleles). Here we describe in more detail the pas1-1 allele, which was obtained by insertional mutagenesis. The PAS1 gene has been cloned and characterized; it encodes an immunophilin-like protein similar to the p59 FK506-binding protein (FKBP52). PAS1 is characterized by an FKBP-like domain and three tetratricopeptide repeat units. Although the presence of immunophilins in plants has already been demonstrated, the pas1-1 mutant represents the first inactivation of an FKBP-like gene in plants. PAS1 expression is altered in pas1 mutants and in the pas2 and pas3 mutants. The expression of the PAS1 gene is increased in the presence of cytokinins, a class of phytohormones originally discovered because of their ability to stimulate cell division. These results are of particular relevance as they show for the first time that an FKBP-like protein plays an important role in the control of plant development.
Protein kinase CK2 is a pleitropic Ser/Thr kinase present in all eukaryotes. In order to study the effects of CK2 depletion on plant development, we have recently generated Arabidopsis transgenic plants expressing a CK2α-inactive mutant under the control of an inducible promoter. Our results showed that continuous expression of the transgene had a dominant negative effect and was lethal for Arabidopsis plants. Overexpression of the CK2α-inactive subunit provoked cell cycle arrest, by perturbation of both G1/S and G2 cell cycle phases. The effects on cell division were particularly strong in root meristems, causing inhibition of lateral root formation even when the mutant protein was transiently induced. Processes that rely on cell expansion, such as hypocotyl elongation in dark-grown seedlings, were also strongly affected. We propose that CK2 regulates auxin-signaling pathways.
protein kinase CK2; cell division cycle; cell expansion; lateral roots; auxin
In the dark, etiolated seedlings display a long hypocotyl, the growth of which is rapidly inhibited when the seedlings are exposed to light. In contrast, the phytohormone ethylene prevents hypocotyl elongation in the dark but enhances its growth in the light. However, the mechanism by which light and ethylene signalling oppositely affect this process at the protein level is unclear. Here, we report that ethylene enhances the movement of CONSTITUTIVE PHOTOMORPHOGENESIS 1 (COP1) to the nucleus where it mediates the degradation of LONG HYPOCOTYL 5 (HY5), contributing to hypocotyl growth in the light. Our results indicate that HY5 is required for ethylene-promoted hypocotyl growth in the light, but not in the dark. Using genetic and biochemical analyses, we found that HY5 functions downstream of ETHYLENE INSENSITIVE 3 (EIN3) for ethylene-promoted hypocotyl growth. Furthermore, the upstream regulation of HY5 stability by ethylene is COP1-dependent, and COP1 is genetically located downstream of EIN3, indicating that the COP1-HY5 complex integrates light and ethylene signalling downstream of EIN3. Importantly, the ethylene precursor 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate (ACC) enriched the nuclear localisation of COP1; however, this effect was dependent on EIN3 only in the presence of light, strongly suggesting that ethylene promotes the effects of light on the movement of COP1 from the cytoplasm to the nucleus. Thus, our investigation demonstrates that the COP1-HY5 complex is a novel integrator that plays an essential role in ethylene-promoted hypocotyl growth in the light.
It is well known that light suppresses hypocotyl growth in seedlings, while the phytohormone ethylene and its precursor 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate (ACC) enhance hypocotyl growth in the light. However, the mechanism by which light and ethylene oppositely affect this process at the protein level is unclear. Here, we demonstrate that ethylene enhances the movement of CONSTITUTIVE PHOTOMORPHOGENESIS 1 (COP1) to the nucleus where it promotes the degradation of LONG HYPOCOTYL 5 (HY5) in the light, contributing to hypocotyl growth. Our data indicate that HY5 is required for ethylene-promoted hypocotyl growth in the light, but not in the dark. Using genetic and biochemical analyses, we found that HY5 functions downstream of ETHYLENE INSENSITIVE 3 (EIN3) during ethylene-promoted hypocotyl growth. Further, the regulation of HY5 stability by ethylene is COP1-dependent, and COP1 is genetically located downstream of EIN3, indicating that the COP1-HY5 complex integrates light and ethylene signalling downstream of EIN3. Importantly, ACC enriched the nuclear localisation of COP1 in an EIN3-dependent manner in the presence of light, suggesting that ethylene rescued the effects of light on the movement of COP1 from the cytoplasm to the nucleus. Thus, our investigation shows that the COP1-HY5 complex is a novel integrator that plays an essential role in ethylene-promoted hypocotyl growth in the light.
Brassinosteroid (BR) and gibberellin (GA) promote many similar developmental responses in plants; but their relationship remains unclear. Here we show that BR and GA act interdependently through a direct interaction between the BR-activated BZR1 and GA-inactivated DELLA transcription regulators. GA promotion of cell elongation required BR signaling, whereas BR or active BZR1 can suppresssed the GA-deficient dwarf phenotype. DELLAs directly interacted with BZR1 and inhibited BZR1-DNA binding both in vitro and in vivo. Genome-wide analysis defined a BZR1-dependent GA-regulated transcriptome, which is enriched with light-regulated genes and genes involved in cell wall synthesis and photosynthesis/chloroplast. GA promotion of hypocotyl elongation requires both BZR1 and the phytochrome interacting factors (PIFs), as well as their common downstream targets PREs. The results demonstrate that GA releases DELLA-mediated inhibition of BZR1, and that the DELLA-BZR1-PIF4 interaction defines a core transcription module that mediates coordinated growth regulation by GA, BR and light signals.
Background and Aims
In hypocotyls of flax (Linum usitatissimum) cadmium-induced reorientation of growth (i.e. an increase in expansion and a decrease in elongation) coincides with marked changes in the methylesterification and cross-linking of homogalacturonans within various cell-wall (CW) domains. The aim of the present study was to examine the involvement of pectin methylesterase (PME) and peroxidase (PER) in this cadmium-induced CW remodelling.
CW proteins were extracted from hypocotyls of 10- and 18-d-old flax that had been treated or not treated with 0·5 mm Cd(NO3)2. PME and PER expression within these extracts was detected by LC/MS, by isoelectric focusing and enzyme activity assays. Transcript expression by RT-PCR of known flax PME and PER genes was also measured in corresponding samples.
In cadmium-treated seedlings, PME activity increased as compared with controls, particularly at day 10. The increased activity of PME was accompanied by increased abundance of both a basic protein isoform (B2) and a particular transcript (Lupme5). In contrast, induction of PER activity by cadmium was highest at day 18. Among the four reported PER genes, Flxper1 and 3 increased in abundance in the presence of cadmium at day 18.
The temporal regulation of Lupme and Flxper genes and of their respective enzyme activities fits the previously reported cadmium-induced structural changes of homogalacturonans within the CWs. After PME-catalysed de-esterification of homogalacturonans, their cross-linking would depend on the activity of PERs interacting with calcium-dimerized blocks and reinforce the cell cohesion during the cadmium-induced swelling.
Cadmium; cell wall; homogalacturonan; Linum usitatissimum; pectin methylesterase; peroxidase
Extracellular ATP (eATP) and nitric oxide (NO) have emerged as crucial players in plant development, stress responses and cell viability. Glutathione (GSH) is an abundant reducing agent with proposed roles in plant growth, development and stress physiology. In a recent publication, we demonstrated that eATP and NO restore hypocotyl elongation of etiolated Arabidopsis seedlings treated with GSH. Here it is reported that exogenous ATP also restores root hair growth suggesting a role for ATP and NO in the regulation of redox balance associated to specific processes of plant morphogenesis. A tentative model integrating redox-, eATP- and NO-signaling pathways during root hair growth in Arabidopsis seedlings is presented.
Arabidopsis thaliana; extracellular ATP signaling; nitric oxide; redox system; root hair
Shade avoidance is an ecologically and molecularly well-understood set of plant developmental responses that occur when the ratio of red to far-red light (R∶FR) is reduced as a result of foliar shade. Here, a genome-wide association study (GWAS) in Arabidopsis thaliana was used to identify variants underlying one of these responses: increased hypocotyl elongation. Four hypocotyl phenotypes were included in the study, including height in high R∶FR conditions (simulated sun), height in low R∶FR conditions (simulated shade), and two different indices of the response of height to low R∶FR. GWAS results showed that variation in these traits is controlled by many loci of small to moderate effect. A known PHYC variant contributing to hypocotyl height variation was identified and lists of significantly associated genes were enriched in a priori candidates, suggesting that this GWAS was capable of generating meaningful results. Using metadata such as expression data, GO terms, and other annotation, we were also able to identify variants in candidate de novo genes. Patterns of significance among our four phenotypes allowed us to categorize associations into three groups: those that affected hypocotyl height without influencing shade avoidance, those that affected shade avoidance in a height-dependent fashion, and those that exerted specific control over shade avoidance. This grouping allowed for the development of explicit hypotheses about the genetics underlying shade avoidance variation. Additionally, the response to shade did not exhibit any marked geographic distribution, suggesting that variation in low R∶FR–induced hypocotyl elongation may represent a response to local conditions.
The goal of this work was to identify genetic variants underlying a well-characterized environmental response, the elongation of Arabidopsis thaliana hypocotyls (seedling stems) in response to shade, otherwise known as shade avoidance. We performed a genome-wide association study with four phenotypes: absolute hypocotyl height of plants grown in both simulated sun and shade and two measures of how height responded to shade. With this study, we confirmed previous findings that variants in two photoreceptors were associated with hypocotyl height variation. We also found associations with genetic variants in previously-identified shade avoidance genes, as well as with variants in genes not typically considered part of the shade avoidance pathway. By examining patterns of which of the four phenotypes were associated with each gene, we were then able to discriminate between genetic variants that have a general role in hypocotyl height variation and variants that are specifically involved in the shade avoidance response. We also found that shade avoidance was not broadly associated with geography, suggesting that variation in this trait may be due to local differences in light quality.
Plant cell walls are complex dynamic structures that play a vital role in coordinating the directional growth of plant tissues. The rapid elongation of the inflorescence stem in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana is accompanied by radical changes in cell wall structure and chemistry, but analysis of the underlying mechanisms and identification of the genes that are involved has been hampered by difficulties in accurately sampling discrete developmental states along the developing stem.
By creating stem growth kinematic profiles for individual expanding Arabidopsis stems we have been able to harvest and pool developmentally-matched tissue samples, and to use these for comparative analysis of global transcript profiles at four distinct phases of stem growth: the period of elongation rate increase, the point of maximum growth rate, the point of stem growth cessation and the fully matured stem. The resulting profiles identify numerous genes whose expression is affected as the stem tissues pass through these defined growth transitions, including both novel loci and genes identified in earlier studies. Of particular note is the preponderance of highly active genes associated with secondary cell wall deposition in the region of stem growth cessation, and of genes associated with defence and stress responses in the fully mature stem.
The use of growth kinematic profiling to create tissue samples that are accurately positioned along the expansion growth continuum of Arabidopsis inflorescence stems establishes a new standard for transcript profiling analyses of such tissues. The resulting expression profiles identify a substantial number of genes whose expression is correlated for the first time with rapid cell wall extension and subsequent fortification, and thus provide an important new resource for plant biologists interested in gene discovery related to plant biomass accumulation.
Cell wall; Anisotropy; Growth kinematic profiling; Transcriptome; Microarray; Arabidopsis; Inflorescence stem
Arabidopsis seedlings display rhythmic growth when grown under diurnal conditions, with maximal elongation rates occurring at the end of the night under short-day photoperiods. Current evidence indicates that this behavior involves the action of the growth-promoting bHLH factors PHYTOCHROME-INTERACTING FACTOR 4 (PIF4) and PHYTOCHROME-INTERACTING FACTOR 5 (PIF5) at the end of the night, through a coincidence mechanism that combines their transcriptional regulation by the circadian clock with control of protein accumulation by light. To assess the possible role of PIF3 in this process, we have analyzed hypocotyl responses and marker gene expression in pif single- and higher-order mutants. The data show that PIF3 plays a prominent role as a promoter of seedling growth under diurnal light/dark conditions, in conjunction with PIF4 and PIF5. In addition, we provide evidence that PIF3 functions in this process through its intrinsic transcriptional regulatory activity, at least in part by directly targeting growth-related genes, and independently of its ability to regulate phytochrome B (phyB) levels. Furthermore, in sharp contrast to PIF4 and PIF5, our data show that the PIF3 gene is not subject to transcriptional regulation by the clock, but that PIF3 protein abundance oscillates under diurnal conditions as a result of a progressive decline in PIF3 protein degradation mediated by photoactivated phyB, and consequent accumulation of the bHLH factor during the dark period. Collectively, the data suggest that phyB-mediated, post-translational regulation allows PIF3 accumulation to peak just before dawn, at which time it accelerates hypocotyl growth, together with PIF4 and PIF5, by directly regulating the induction of growth-related genes.
PIF3; hypocotyl elongation; short day; phytochrome-mediated degradation; transcriptional regulation; Arabidopsis
The biomechanical behaviour of plant cells depends upon the material properties of their cell walls and, in many cases, it is necessary that these properties are quite specific. Additionally, physiological regulation may require that target cells responding to hormonal signals or environmental factors are able to modulate these characteristics.
This paper uses a rheological analysis of creep of elongating sunflower (Helianthus annuus) sunflower hypocotyls to demonstrate that the mechanical behaviour of plant cell walls is complex and involves multiple layered processes that can be distinguished from one another by the time-scale over which they lead to a change in tissue dimensions, their sensitivity to pH and temperature, and their responses to changes in spatial arrangement of the cell wall brought about by treatment with high Mr PEG. Furthermore, it appears possible to regulate individual rheological processes, with limited effect on others, in order to modulate growth without affecting tissue structural integrity. It is proposed that control of the water content of the cell wall and therefore the space between cell wall polymers may be one mechanism by which differential regulation of cell wall biomechanical properties is achieved. This hypothesis is supported by evidence showing that enzyme extracts from growing tissues can cause swelling in cell wall fragments in suspension.
The physiological implications of this complexity are then considered for growing tissues, stomatal guard cells and abscission cells. It is noted that, in each circumstance, a different combination of mechanical properties is required and that differential regulation of properties affecting behaviour over different time-scales is often necessary.
Helianthus annuus; cell wall; rheology; growth; stomata; abscission
Most organisms use daily light/dark cycles as timing cues to control many essential physiological processes. In plants, growth rates of the embryonic stem (hypocotyl) are maximal at different times of day, depending on external photoperiod and the internal circadian clock. However, the interactions between light signaling, the circadian clock, and growth-promoting hormone pathways in growth control remain poorly understood. At the molecular level, such growth rhythms could be attributed to several different layers of time-specific control such as phasing of transcription, signaling, or protein abundance. To determine the transcriptional component associated with the rhythmic control of growth, we applied temporal analysis of the Arabidopsis thaliana seedling transcriptome under multiple growth conditions and mutant backgrounds using DNA microarrays. We show that a group of plant hormone-associated genes are coexpressed at the time of day when hypocotyl growth rate is maximal. This expression correlates with overrepresentation of a cis-acting element (CACATG) in phytohormone gene promoters, which is sufficient to confer the predicted diurnal and circadian expression patterns in vivo. Using circadian clock and light signaling mutants, we show that both internal coincidence of phytohormone signaling capacity and external coincidence with darkness are required to coordinate wild-type growth. From these data, we argue that the circadian clock indirectly controls growth by permissive gating of light-mediated phytohormone transcript levels to the proper time of day. This temporal integration of hormone pathways allows plants to fine tune phytohormone responses for seasonal and shade-appropriate growth regulation.
In plants, stems elongate faster at dawn. This time-of-day–specific growth is controlled by integration of environmental cues and the circadian clock. The specific effectors of growth in plants are the phytohormones: auxin, ethylene, gibberellins, abscisic acid, brassinosteroids, and cytokinins. Each phytohormone plays an independent as well as an overlapping role in growth, and understanding the interactions of the phytohormones has dominated plant research over the past century. The authors present a model in which the circadian clock coordinates growth by synchronizing phytohormone gene expression at dawn, allowing a plant to control growth in a condition-specific manner. Furthermore, the results presented provide a new framework for future experiments aimed at understanding the integration and crosstalk of the phytohormones.
Why do plants grow faster at dawn? New results suggest that light and the circadian clock coordinate growth by synchronizing the expression of plant hormone genes at dawn.
Plant circadian clock controls a wide variety of physiological and developmental events, which include the short-days (SDs)-specific promotion of the elongation of hypocotyls during de-etiolation and also the elongation of petioles during vegetative growth. In A. thaliana, the PIF4 gene encoding a phytochrome-interacting basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor plays crucial roles in this photoperiodic control of plant growth. According to the proposed external coincidence model, the PIF4 gene is transcribed precociously at the end of night specifically in SDs, under which conditions the protein product is stably accumulated, while PIF4 is expressed exclusively during the daytime in long days (LDs), under which conditions the protein product is degraded by the light-activated phyB and also the residual proteins are inactivated by the DELLA family of proteins. A number of previous reports provided solid evidence to support this coincidence model mainly at the transcriptional level of the PIF4 and PIF4-traget genes. Nevertheless, the diurnal oscillation profiles of PIF4 proteins, which were postulated to be dependent on photoperiod and ambient temperature, have not yet been demonstrated. Here we present such crucial evidence on PIF4 protein level to further support the external coincidence model underlying the temperature-adaptive photoperiodic control of plant growth in A. thaliana.
arabidopsis thaliana; circadian clock; external coincidence model; light signaling; photomorphogenesis
New tools are required to address the challenge of relating plant hormone levels, hormone responses, wall biochemistry and wall mechanical properties to organ-scale growth. Current vertex-based models (applied in other contexts) can be unsuitable for simulating the growth of elongated organs such as roots because of the large aspect ratio of the cells, and these models fail to capture the mechanical properties of cell walls in sufficient detail. We describe a vertex-element model which resolves individual cells and includes anisotropic non-linear viscoelastic mechanical properties of cell walls and cell division whilst still being computationally efficient. We show that detailed consideration of the cell walls in the plane of a 2D simulation is necessary when cells have large aspect ratio, such as those in the root elongation zone of Arabidopsis thaliana, in order to avoid anomalous transverse swelling. We explore how differences in the mechanical properties of cells across an organ can result in bending and how cellulose microfibril orientation affects macroscale growth. We also demonstrate that the model can be used to simulate growth on realistic geometries, for example that of the primary root apex, using moderate computational resources. The model shows how macroscopic root shape can be sensitive to fine-scale cellular geometries.
multiscale; simulation; microfibrils; viscosity; anisotropy