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1.  Perturbation of cytokinin and ethylene-signalling pathways explain the strong rooting phenotype exhibited by Arabidopsis expressing the Schizosaccharomyces pombe mitotic inducer, cdc25 
BMC Plant Biology  2012;12:45.
Entry into mitosis is regulated by cyclin dependent kinases that in turn are phosphoregulated. In most eukaryotes, phosphoregulation is through WEE1 kinase and CDC25 phosphatase. In higher plants a homologous CDC25 gene is unconfirmed and hence the mitotic inducer Schizosaccharomyces pombe (Sp) cdc25 has been used as a tool in transgenic plants to probe cell cycle function. Expression of Spcdc25 in tobacco BY-2 cells accelerates entry into mitosis and depletes cytokinins; in whole plants it stimulates lateral root production. Here we show, for the first time, that alterations to cytokinin and ethylene signaling explain the rooting phenotype elicited by Spcdc25 expression in Arabidopsis.
Expressing Spcdc25 in Arabidopsis results in increased formation of lateral and adventitious roots, a reduction of primary root width and more isodiametric cells in the root apical meristem (RAM) compared with wild type. Furthermore it stimulates root morphogenesis from hypocotyls when cultured on two way grids of increasing auxin and cytokinin concentrations. Microarray analysis of seedling roots expressing Spcdc25 reveals that expression of 167 genes is changed by > 2-fold. As well as genes related to stress responses and defence, these include 19 genes related to transcriptional regulation and signaling. Amongst these was the up-regulation of genes associated with ethylene synthesis and signaling. Seedlings expressing Spcdc25 produced 2-fold more ethylene than WT and exhibited a significant reduction in hypocotyl length both in darkness or when exposed to 10 ppm ethylene. Furthermore in Spcdc25 expressing plants, the cytokinin receptor AHK3 was down-regulated, and endogenous levels of iPA were reduced whereas endogeous IAA concentrations in the roots increased.
We suggest that the reduction in root width and change to a more isodiametric cell phenotype in the RAM in Spcdc25 expressing plants is a response to ethylene over-production. The increased rooting phenotype in Spcdc25 expressing plants is due to an increase in the ratio of endogenous auxin to cytokinin that is known to stimulate an increased rate of lateral root production. Overall, our data reveal important cross talk between cell division and plant growth regulators leading to developmental changes.
PMCID: PMC3362767  PMID: 22452972
2.  The auxin signalling network translates dynamic input into robust patterning at the shoot apex 
We provide a comprehensive expression map of the different genes (TIR1/AFBs, ARFs and Aux/IAAs) involved in the signalling pathway regulating gene transcription in response to auxin in the shoot apical meristem (SAM).We demonstrate a relatively simple structure of this pathway using a high-throughput yeast two-hybrid approach to obtain the Aux/IAA-ARF full interactome.The topology of the signalling network was used to construct a model for auxin signalling and to predict a role for the spatial regulation of auxin signalling in patterning of the SAM.We used a new sensor to monitor the input in the auxin signalling pathway and to confirm the model prediction, thus demonstrating that auxin signalling is essential to create robust patterns at the SAM.
The plant hormone auxin is a key morphogenetic signal involved in the control of cell identity throughout development. A striking example of auxin action is at the shoot apical meristem (SAM), a population of stem cells generating the aerial parts of the plant. Organ positioning and patterning depends on local accumulations of auxin in the SAM, generated by polar transport of auxin (Vernoux et al, 2010). However, it is still unclear how auxin is distributed at cell resolution in tissues and how the hormone is sensed in space and time during development. A complex ensemble of 29 Aux/IAAs and 23 ARFs is central to the regulation of gene transcription in response to auxin (for review, see Leyser, 2006; Guilfoyle and Hagen, 2007; Chapman and Estelle, 2009). Protein–protein interactions govern the properties of this transduction pathway (Del Bianco and Kepinski, 2011). Limited interaction studies suggest that, in the absence of auxin, the Aux/IAA repressors form heterodimers with the ARF transcription factors, preventing them from regulating target genes. In the presence of auxin, the Aux/IAA proteins are targeted to the proteasome by an SCF E3 ubiquitin ligase complex (Chapman and Estelle, 2009; Leyser, 2006). In this process, auxin promotes the interaction between Aux/IAA proteins and the TIR1 F-box of the SCF complex (or its AFB homologues) that acts as an auxin co-receptor (Dharmasiri et al, 2005a, 2005b; Kepinski and Leyser, 2005; Tan et al, 2007). The auxin-induced degradation of Aux/IAAs would then release ARFs to regulate transcription of their target genes. This includes activation of most of the Aux/IAA genes themselves, thus establishing a negative feedback loop (Guilfoyle and Hagen, 2007). Although this general scenario provides a framework for understanding gene regulation by auxin, the underlying protein–protein network remains to be fully characterized.
In this paper, we combined experimental and theoretical analyses to understand how this pathway contributes to sensing auxin in space and time (Figure 1). We first analysed the expression patterns of the ARFs, Aux/IAAs and TIR1/AFBs genes in the SAM. Our results demonstrate a general tendency for most of the 25 ARFs and Aux/IAAs detected in the SAM: a differential expression with low levels at the centre of the meristem (where the stem cells are located) and high levels at the periphery of the meristem (where organ initiation takes place). We also observed a similar differential expression for TIR1/AFB co-receptors. To understand the functional significance of the distribution of ARFs and Aux/IAAs in the SAM, we next investigated the global structure of the Aux/IAA-ARF network using a high-throughput yeast two-hybrid approach and uncover a rather simple topology that relies on three basic generic features: (i) Aux/IAA proteins interact with themselves, (ii) Aux/IAA proteins interact with ARF activators and (iii) ARF repressors have no or very limited interactions with other proteins in the network.
The results of our interaction analysis suggest a model for the Aux/IAA-ARF signalling pathway in the SAM, where transcriptional activation by ARF activators would be negatively regulated by two independent systems, one involving the ARF repressors, the other the Aux/IAAs. The presence of auxin would remove the inhibitory action of Aux/IAAs, but leave the ARF repressors to compete with ARF activators for promoter-binding sites. To explore the regulatory properties of this signalling network, we developed a mathematical model to describe the transcriptional output as a function of the signalling input that is the combinatorial effect of auxin concentration and of its perception. We then used the model and a simplified view of the meristem (where the same population of Aux/IAAs and ARFs exhibit a low expression at the centre and a high expression in the peripheral zone) for investigating the role of auxin signalling in SAM function. We show that in the model, for a given ARF activator-to-repressor ratio, the gene induction capacity increases with the absolute levels of ARF proteins. We thus predict that the differential expression of the ARFs generates differences in auxin sensitivities between the centre (low sensitivity) and the periphery (high sensitivity), and that the expression of TIR1/AFB participates to this regulation (prediction 1). We also use the model to analyse the transcriptional response to rapidly changing auxin concentrations. By simulating situations equivalent either to the centre or the periphery of our simplified representation of the SAM, we predict that the signalling pathway buffers its response to the auxin input via the balance between ARF activators and repressors, in turn generated by their differential spatial distributions (prediction 2).
To test the predictions from the model experimentally, we needed to assess both the input (auxin level and/or perception) and the output (target gene induction) of the signalling cascade. For measuring the transcriptional output, the widely used DR5 reporter is perfectly adapted (Figure 5) (Ulmasov et al, 1997; Sabatini et al, 1999; Benkova et al, 2003; Heisler et al, 2005). For assaying pathway input, we designed DII-VENUS, a novel auxin signalling sensor that comprises a constitutively expressed fusion of the auxin-binding domain (termed domain II or DII) (Dreher et al, 2006; Tan et al, 2007) of an IAA to a fast-maturating variant of YFP, VENUS (Figure 5). The degradation patterns from DII-VENUS indicate a high auxin signalling input both in flower primordia and at the centre of the SAM. This is in contrast to the organ-specific expression pattern of DR5::VENUS (Figure 5). These results indicate that the signalling pathway limits gene activation in response to auxin at the meristem centre and confirm the differential sensitivity to auxin between the centre and the periphery (prediction 1). We further confirmed the buffering capacities of the signalling pathway (prediction 2) by carrying out live imaging experiments to monitor DII-VENUS and DR5::VENUS expression in real time (Figure 5). This analysis reveals the presence of important temporal variations of DII-VENUS fluorescence, while DR5::VENUS does not show such global variations. Our approach thus provides evidence that the Aux/IAA-ARF pathway has a key role in patterning in the SAM, alongside the auxin transport system. Our results illustrate how the tight spatio-temporal regulation of both the distribution of a morphogenetic signal and the activity of the downstream signalling pathway provides robustness to a dynamic developmental process.
A comprehensive expression and interaction map of auxin signalling factors in the Arabidopsis shoot apical meristem is constructed and used to derive a mathematical model of auxin signalling, from which key predictions are experimentally confirmed.
The plant hormone auxin is thought to provide positional information for patterning during development. It is still unclear, however, precisely how auxin is distributed across tissues and how the hormone is sensed in space and time. The control of gene expression in response to auxin involves a complex network of over 50 potentially interacting transcriptional activators and repressors, the auxin response factors (ARFs) and Aux/IAAs. Here, we perform a large-scale analysis of the Aux/IAA-ARF pathway in the shoot apex of Arabidopsis, where dynamic auxin-based patterning controls organogenesis. A comprehensive expression map and full interactome uncovered an unexpectedly simple distribution and structure of this pathway in the shoot apex. A mathematical model of the Aux/IAA-ARF network predicted a strong buffering capacity along with spatial differences in auxin sensitivity. We then tested and confirmed these predictions using a novel auxin signalling sensor that reports input into the signalling pathway, in conjunction with the published DR5 transcriptional output reporter. Our results provide evidence that the auxin signalling network is essential to create robust patterns at the shoot apex.
PMCID: PMC3167386  PMID: 21734647
auxin; biosensor; live imaging; ODE; signalling
3.  Transcript profiling of cytokinin action in Arabidopsis roots and shoots discovers largely similar but also organ-specific responses 
BMC Plant Biology  2012;12:112.
The plant hormone cytokinin regulates growth and development of roots and shoots in opposite ways. In shoots it is a positive growth regulator whereas it inhibits growth in roots. It may be assumed that organ-specific regulation of gene expression is involved in these differential activities, but little is known about it. To get more insight into the transcriptional events triggered by cytokinin in roots and shoots, we studied genome-wide gene expression in cytokinin-treated and cytokinin-deficient roots and shoots.
It was found by principal component analysis of the transcriptomic data that the immediate-early response to a cytokinin stimulus differs from the later response, and that the transcriptome of cytokinin-deficient plants is different from both the early and the late cytokinin induction response. A higher cytokinin status in the roots activated the expression of numerous genes normally expressed predominantly in the shoot, while a lower cytokinin status in the shoot reduced the expression of genes normally more active in the shoot to a more root-like level. This shift predominantly affected nuclear genes encoding plastid proteins. An organ-specific regulation was assigned to a number of genes previously known to react to a cytokinin signal, including root-specificity for the cytokinin hydroxylase gene CYP735A2 and shoot specificity for the cell cycle regulator gene CDKA;1. Numerous cytokinin-regulated genes were newly discovered or confirmed, including the meristem regulator genes SHEPHERD and CLAVATA1, auxin-related genes (IAA7, IAA13, AXR1, PIN2, PID), several genes involved in brassinosteroid (CYP710A1, CYP710A2, DIM/DWF) and flavonol (MYB12, CHS, FLS1) synthesis, various transporter genes (e.g. HKT1), numerous members of the AP2/ERF transcription factor gene family, genes involved in light signalling (PhyA, COP1, SPA1), and more than 80 ribosomal genes. However, contrasting with the fundamental difference of the growth response of roots and shoots to the hormone, the vast majority of the cytokinin-regulated transcriptome showed similar response patterns in roots and shoots.
The shift of the root and shoot transcriptomes towards the respective other organ depending on the cytokinin status indicated that the hormone determines part of the organ-specific transcriptome pattern independent of morphological organ identity. Numerous novel cytokinin-regulated genes were discovered which had escaped earlier discovery, most probably due to unspecific sampling. These offer novel insights into the diverse activities of cytokinin, including crosstalk with other hormones and different environmental cues, identify the AP2/ERF class of transcriptions factors as particularly cytokinin sensitive, and also suggest translational control of cytokinin-induced changes.
PMCID: PMC3519560  PMID: 22824128
4.  Combined in silico/in vivo analysis of mechanisms providing for root apical meristem self-organization and maintenance 
Annals of Botany  2012;110(2):349-360.
Background and Aims
The root apical meristem (RAM) is the plant stem cell niche which provides for the formation and continuous development of the root. Auxin is the main regulator of RAM functioning, and auxin maxima coincide with the sites of RAM initiation and maintenance. Auxin gradients are formed due to local auxin biosynthesis and polar auxin transport. The PIN family of auxin transporters plays a critical role in polar auxin transport, and two mechanisms of auxin maximum formation in the RAM based on PIN-mediated auxin transport have been proposed to date: the reverse fountain and the reflected flow mechanisms.
The two mechanisms are combined here in in silico studies of auxin distribution in intact roots and roots cut into two pieces in the proximal meristem region. In parallel, corresponding experiments were performed in vivo using DR5::GFP Arabidopsis plants.
Key Results
The reverse fountain and the reflected flow mechanism naturally cooperate for RAM patterning and maintenance in intact root. Regeneration of the RAM in decapitated roots is provided by the reflected flow mechanism. In the excised root tips local auxin biosynthesis either alone or in cooperation with the reverse fountain enables RAM maintenance.
The efficiency of a dual-mechanism model in guiding biological experiments on RAM regeneration and maintenance is demonstrated. The model also allows estimation of the concentrations of auxin and PINs in root cells during development and under various treatments. The dual-mechanism model proposed here can be a powerful tool for the study of several different aspects of auxin function in root.
PMCID: PMC3394645  PMID: 22510326
Auxin response; root apical meristem; patterning; reverse fountain; reflected flow; mathematical model; Arabidopsis thaliana
5.  A plausible mechanism for auxin patterning along the developing root 
BMC Systems Biology  2010;4:98.
In plant roots, auxin is critical for patterning and morphogenesis. It regulates cell elongation and division, the development and maintenance of root apical meristems, and other processes. In Arabidopsis, auxin distribution along the central root axis has several maxima: in the root tip, in the basal meristem and at the shoot/root junction. The distal maximum in the root tip maintains the stem cell niche. Proximal maxima may trigger lateral or adventitious root initiation.
We propose a reflected flow mechanism for the formation of the auxin maximum in the root apical meristem. The mechanism is based on auxin's known activation and inhibition of expressed PIN family auxin carriers at low and high auxin levels, respectively. Simulations showed that these regulatory interactions are sufficient for self-organization of the auxin distribution pattern along the central root axis under varying conditions. The mathematical model was extended with rules for discontinuous cell dynamics so that cell divisions were also governed by auxin, and by another morphogen Division Factor which combines the actions of cytokinin and ethylene on cell division in the root. The positional information specified by the gradients of these two morphogens is able to explain root patterning along the central root axis.
We present here a plausible mechanism for auxin patterning along the developing root, that may provide for self-organization of the distal auxin maximum when the reverse fountain has not yet been formed or has been disrupted. In addition, the proximal maxima are formed under the reflected flow mechanism in response to periods of increasing auxin flow from the growing shoot. These events may predetermine lateral root initiation in a rhyzotactic pattern. Another outcome of the reflected flow mechanism - the predominance of lateral or adventitious roots in different plant species - may be based on the different efficiencies with which auxin inhibits its own transport in different species, thereby distinguishing two main types of plant root architecture: taproot vs. fibrous.
PMCID: PMC2921385  PMID: 20663170
6.  Establishment of embryonic shoot–root axis is involved in auxin and cytokinin response during Arabidopsis somatic embryogenesis 
Auxin and cytokinin signaling participates in regulating a large spectrum of developmental and physiological processes in plants. The shoots and roots of plants have specific and sometimes even contrary responses to these hormones. Recent studies have clearly shown that establishing the spatiotemporal distribution of auxin and cytokinin response signals is central for the control of shoot apical meristem (SAM) induction in cultured tissues. However, little is known about the role of these hormones in root apical meristem (RAM) initiation. Here, we found that the expression patterns of several regulatory genes critical for RAM formation were correlated with the establishment of the embryonic root meristem during somatic embryogenesis in Arabidopsis. Interestingly, the early expression of the WUS-RELATED HOMEOBOX 5 (WOX5) and WUSCHEL genes was induced and was nearly overlapped within the embryonic callus when somatic embryos (SEs) could not be identified morphologically. Their correct expression was essential for RAM and SAM initiation and embryonic shoot–root axis establishment. Furthermore, we analyzed the auxin and cytokinin response during SE initiation. Notably, cytokinin response signals were detected in specific regions that were correlated with induced WOX5 expression and subsequent SE formation. Overexpression of the ARABIDOPSIS RESPONSE REGULATOR genes ARR7 and ARR15 (feedback repressors of cytokinin signaling), disturbed RAM initiation and SE induction. These results provide new information on auxin and cytokinin-regulated apical–basal polarity formation of shoot–root axis during somatic embryogenesis.
PMCID: PMC4294322  PMID: 25642237
shoot–root axis; root apical meristem; cytokinin response; auxin response; somatic embryogenesis; Arabidopsis
7.  The Arabidopsis CDK inhibitor ICK3/KRP5 is rate limiting for primary root growth and promotes growth through cell elongation and endoreduplication 
The coordination of plant cell division and expansion controls plant morphogenesis, development, and growth. Cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) are not only key regulators of cell division but also play an important role in cell differentiation. In plants, CDK activity is modulated by the binding of INHIBITOR OF CDK/KIP-RELATED PROTEIN (ICK/KRP). Previously, ICK2/KRP2 has been shown to mediate auxin responses in lateral root initiation. Here are analysed the roles of all ICK/KRP genes in root growth. Analysis of ick/krp null-mutants revealed that only ick3/krp5 was affected in primary root growth. ICK3/KRP5 is strongly expressed in the root apical meristem (RAM), with lower expression in the expansion zone. ick3/krp5 roots grow more slowly than wildtype controls, and this results not from reduction of division in the proliferative region of the RAM but rather reduced expansion as cells exit the meristem. This leads to shorter final cell lengths in different tissues of the ick3/krp5 mutant root, particularly the epidermal non-hair cells, and this reduction in cell size correlates with reduced endoreduplication. Loss of ICK3/KRP5 also leads to delayed germination and in the mature embryo ICK3/KRP5 is specifically expressed in the transition zone between root and hypocotyl. Cells in the transition zone were smaller in the ick3/krp5 mutant, despite the absence of endoreduplication in the embryo suggesting a direct effect of ICK3/KRP5 on cell growth. It is concluded that ICK3/KRP5 is a positive regulator of both cell growth and endoreduplication.
PMCID: PMC3580825  PMID: 23440171
Arabidopsis; CDK; cell cycle; cell division; cell expansion; development; root growth
8.  DAR2 acts as an important node connecting cytokinin, auxin, SHY2 and PLT1/2 in root meristem size control 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2013;8(6):e24226.
Cytokinin and auxin antagonistically affect cell proliferation and differentiation and thus regulate root meristem size by influencing the abundance of SHORT HYPOCOTYL2 (SHY2/IAA3). SHY2 affects auxin distribution in the root meristem by repressing the auxin-inducible expression of PIN-FORMED (PIN) auxin transport genes. The PLETHORA (PLT1/2) genes influence root meristem growth by promoting stem cells and transit-amplifying cells. However, the factors connecting cytokinin, auxin, SHY2 and PLT1/2 are largely unknown. In a recent study, we have shown that the DA1-related protein 2 (DAR2) acts downstream of cytokinin and SHY2 but upstream of PLT1/2 to affect root meristem size. Here, we discuss the possible molecular mechanisms by which Arabidopsis DAR2 controls root meristem size.
PMCID: PMC3907457  PMID: 23518585
DAR2; root meristem size; stem cell niche activity; auxin; cytokinin
9.  Glycerol Affects Root Development through Regulation of Multiple Pathways in Arabidopsis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e86269.
Glycerol metabolism has been well studied biochemically. However, the means by which glycerol functions in plant development is not well understood. This study aimed to investigate the mechanism underlying the effects of glycerol on root development in Arabidopsis thaliana. Exogenous glycerol inhibited primary root growth and altered lateral root development in wild-type plants. These phenotypes appeared concurrently with increased endogenous glycerol-3-phosphate (G3P) and H2O2 contents in seedlings, and decreased phosphate levels in roots. Upon glycerol treatment, G3P level and root development did not change in glycerol kinase mutant gli1, but G3P level increased in gpdhc1 and fad-gpdh mutants, which resulted in more severely impaired root development. Overexpression of the FAD-GPDH gene attenuated the alterations in G3P, phosphate and H2O2 levels, leading to increased tolerance to exogenous glycerol, which suggested that FAD-GPDH plays an important role in modulating this response. Free indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) content increased by 46%, and DR5pro::GUS staining increased in the stele cells of the root meristem under glycerol treatment, suggesting that glycerol likely alters normal auxin distribution. Decreases in PIN1 and PIN7 expression, β-glucuronidase (GUS) staining in plants expressing PIN7pro::GUS and green fluorescent protein (GFP) fluorescence in plants expressing PIN7pro::PIN7-GFP were observed, indicating that polar auxin transport in the root was downregulated under glycerol treatment. Analyses with auxin-related mutants showed that TIR1 and ARF7 were involved in regulating root growth under glycerol treatment. Glycerol-treated plants showed significant reductions in root meristem size and cell number as revealed by CYCB1;1pro::GUS staining. Furthermore, the expression of CDKA and CYCB1 decreased significantly in treated plants compared with control plants, implying possible alterations in cell cycle progression. Our data demonstrated that glycerol treatment altered endogenous levels of G3P, phosphate and ROS, affected auxin distribution and cell division in the root meristem, and eventually resulted in modifications of root development.
PMCID: PMC3899222  PMID: 24465999
10.  The organization of roots of dicotyledonous plants and the positions of control points 
Annals of Botany  2010;107(7):1213-1222.
The structure of roots has been studied for many years, but despite their importance to the growth and well-being of plants, most researchers tend to ignore them. This is unfortunate, because their simple body plan makes it possible to study complex developmental pathways without the complications sometimes found in the shoot. In this illustrated essay, my objective is to describe the body plan of the root and the root apical meristem (RAM) and point out the control points where differentiation and cell cycle decisions are made. Hopefully this outline will assist plant biologists in identifying the structural context for their observations.
Scope and Conclusions
This short paper outlines the types of RAM, i.e. basic-open, intermediate-open and closed, shows how they are similar and different, and makes the point that the structure and shape of the RAM are not static, but changes in shape, size and organization occur depending on root growth rate and development stage. RAMs with a closed organization lose their outer root cap layers in sheets of dead cells, while those with an open organization release living border cells from the outer surfaces of the root cap. This observation suggests a possible difference in the mechanisms whereby roots with different RAM types communicate with soil-borne micro-organisms. The root body is organized in cylinders, sectors (xylem and phloem in the vascular cylinder), cell files, packets and modules, and individual cells. The differentiation in these root development units is regulated at control points where genetic regulation is needed, and the location of these tissue-specific control points can be modulated as a function of root growth rate. In Arabidopsis thaliana the epidermis and peripheral root cap develop through a highly regulated series of steps starting with a periclinal division of an initial cell, the root cap/protoderm (RCP) initial. The derivative cells from the RCP initial divide into two cells, the inner cell divides again to renew the RCP and the other cell divides through four cycles to form 16 epidermal cells in a packet; the outer cell divides through four cycles to form the 16 cells making up the peripheral root cap packet. Together, the epidermal packet and the peripheral root cap packet make up a module of cells which are clonally related.
PMCID: PMC3091796  PMID: 21118839
Root apical meristem; RAM; cell cycle; differentiation; peripheral root cap; closed RAM organization; open RAM organization; epidermis; module; determination; levels of organization; plasmodesmata; T-division; root cap/protoderm initial; columella initial
11.  ARABIDOPSIS HOMOLOG of TRITHORAX1 (ATX1) is required for cell production, patterning, and morphogenesis in root development 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2014;65(22):6373-6384.
Methyltransferases maintain some genes in an active state. ATX1 regulates the timing of root development and is essential for stem cell niche maintenance and cell patterning during primary and lateral root development.
ARABIDOPSIS HOMOLOG of TRITHORAX1 (ATX1/SDG27), a known regulator of flower development, encodes a H3K4histone methyltransferase that maintains a number of genes in an active state. In this study, the role of ATX1 in root development was evaluated. The loss-of-function mutant atx1-1 was impaired in primary root growth. The data suggest that ATX1 controls root growth by regulating cell cycle duration, cell production, and the transition from cell proliferation in the root apical meristem (RAM) to cell elongation. In atx1-1, the quiescent centre (QC) cells were irregular in shape and more expanded than those of the wild type. This feature, together with the atypical distribution of T-divisions, the presence of oblique divisions, and the abnormal cell patterning in the RAM, suggests a lack of coordination between cell division and cell growth in the mutant. The expression domain of QC-specific markers was expanded both in the primary RAM and in the developing lateral root primordia of atx1-1 plants. These abnormalities were independent of auxin-response gradients. ATX1 was also found to be required for lateral root initiation, morphogenesis, and emergence. The time from lateral root initiation to emergence was significantly extended in the atx1-1 mutant. Overall, these data suggest that ATX1 is involved in the timing of root development, stem cell niche maintenance, and cell patterning during primary and lateral root development. Thus, ATX1 emerges as an important player in root system architecture.
PMCID: PMC4246177  PMID: 25205583
Arabidopsis; lateral root development; patterning; root apical meristem; root development; root morphogenesis; root system.
12.  The Production and Release of Living Root Cap Border Cells is a Function of Root Apical Meristem Type in Dicotyledonous Angiosperm Plants 
Annals of Botany  2006;97(5):917-923.
• Background and Aims The root apical meristems (RAM) of flowering plant roots are organized into recognizable pattern types. At present, there are no known ecological or physiological benefits to having one RAM organization type over another. Although there are phylogenetic distribution patterns in plant groups, the possible evolutionary advantages of different RAM organization patterns are not understood. Root caps of many flowering plant roots are known to release living border cells into the rhizosphere, where the cells are believed to have the capacity to alter conditions in the soil and to interact with soil micro-organisms. Consequently, high rates of border cell production may have the potential to benefit plant growth and development greatly, and to provide a selective advantage in certain soil environments. This study reports the use of several approaches to elucidate the anatomical and developmental relationships between RAM organization and border cell production.
• Methods RAM types from many species were compared with numbers of border cells released in those species. In addition, other species were grown, fixed and sectioned to verify their organization type and capacity to produce border cells. Root tips were examined microscopically to characterize their pattern and some were stained to determine the viability of root cap cells.
• Key Results The first report of a correlation between RAM organization type and the production and release of border cells is provided: species exhibiting open RAM organization produce significantly more border cells than species exhibiting closed apical organization. Roots with closed apical organization release peripheral root cap cells in sheets or large groups of dead cells, whereas root caps with open organization release individual living border cells.
• Conclusions This study, the first to document a relationship between RAM organization, root cap behaviour and a possible ecological benefit to the plant, may yield a framework to examine the evolutionary causes for the diversification of RAM organization types across taxa.
PMCID: PMC2803423  PMID: 16488922
Border cells; root caps; root apical organization; root meristem
13.  Determinate Root Growth and Meristem Maintenance in Angiosperms 
Annals of Botany  2007;101(3):319-340.
The difference between indeterminate and determinate growth in plants consists of the presence or absence of an active meristem in the fully developed organ. Determinate root growth implies that the root apical meristem (RAM) becomes exhausted. As a consequence, all cells in the root tip differentiate. This type of growth is widely found in roots of many angiosperm taxa and might have evolved as a developmental adaptation to water deficit (in desert Cactaceae), or low mineral content in the soil (proteoid roots in various taxa).
Scope and Conclusions
This review considers the mechanisms of determinate root growth to better understand how the RAM is maintained, how it functions, and the cellular and genetic bases of these processes. The role of the quiescent centre in RAM maintenance and exhaustion will be analysed. During root ageing, the RAM becomes smaller and its organization changes; however, it remains unknown whether every root is truly determinate in the sense that its RAM becomes exhausted before senescence. We define two types of determinate growth: constitutive where determinacy is a natural part of root development; and non-constitutive where determinacy is induced usually by an environmental factor. Determinate root growth is proposed to include two phases: the indeterminate growth phase, when the RAM continuously produces new cells; and the termination growth phase, when cell production gradually decreases and eventually ceases. Finally, new concepts regarding stem cells and a stem cell niche are discussed to help comprehend how the meristem is maintained in a broad taxonomic context.
PMCID: PMC2701811  PMID: 17954472
Angiosperms; determinate root growth; indeterminate growth; meristem maintenance; quiescent centre; root apical meristem; root development; stem cells; stem cell niche
14.  Regulation of tomato fruit pericarp development by an interplay between CDKB and CDKA1 cell cycle genes 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2012;63(7):2605-2617.
Growth of tomato fruits is determined by cell division and cell expansion, which are tightly controlled by factors that drive the core cell cycle. The cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) and their interacting partners, the cyclins, play a key role in the progression of the cell cycle. In this study the role of CDKA1, CDKB1, and CDKB2 in fruit development was characterized by fruit-specific overexpression and down-regulation. CDKA1 is expressed in the pericarp throughout development, but is strongly up-regulated in the outer pericarp cell layers at the end of the growth period, when CDKB gene expression has ceased. Overexpression of the CDKB genes at later stages of development and the down-regulation of CDKA1 result in a very similar fruit phenotype, showing a reduction in the number of cell layers in the pericarp and alterations in the desiccation of the fruits. Expression studies revealed that CDKA1 is down-regulated by the expression of CDKB1/2 in CDKB1 and CDKB2 overexpression mutants, suggesting opposite roles for these types of CDK proteins in tomato pericarp development.
PMCID: PMC3346228  PMID: 22282536
Cell cycle genes; fruit development; mutants; tomato
15.  Auxin and cytokinin control formation of the quiescent centre in the adventitious root apex of arabidopsis 
Annals of Botany  2013;112(7):1395-1407.
Background and Aims
Adventitious roots (ARs) are part of the root system in numerous plants, and are required for successful micropropagation. In the Arabidopsis thaliana primary root (PR) and lateral roots (LRs), the quiescent centre (QC) in the stem cell niche of the meristem controls apical growth with the involvement of auxin and cytokinin. In arabidopsis, ARs emerge in planta from the hypocotyl pericycle, and from different tissues in in vitro cultured explants, e.g. from the stem endodermis in thin cell layer (TCL) explants. The aim of this study was to investigate the establishment and maintenance of the QC in arabidopsis ARs, in planta and in TCL explants, because information about this process is still lacking, and it has potential use for biotechnological applications.
Expression of PR/LR QC markers and auxin influx (LAX3)/efflux (PIN1) genes was investigated in the presence/absence of exogenous auxin and cytokinin. Auxin was monitored by the DR5::GUS system and cytokinin by immunolocalization. The expression of the auxin-biosynthetic YUCCA6 gene was also investigated by in situ hybridization in planta and in AR-forming TCLs from the indole acetic acid (IAA)-overproducing superroot2-1 mutant and its wild type.
Key Results
The accumulation of auxin and the expression of the QC marker WOX5 characterized the early derivatives of the AR founder cells, in planta and in in vitro cultured TCLs. By determination of PIN1 auxin efflux carrier and LAX3 auxin influx carrier activities, an auxin maximum was determined to occur at the AR tip, to which WOX5 expression was restricted, establishing the positioning of the QC. Cytokinin caused a restriction of LAX3 and PIN1 expression domains, and concomitantly the auxin biosynthesis YUCCA6 gene was expressed in the apex.
In ARs formed in planta and TCLs, the QC is established in a similar way, and auxin transport and biosynthesis are involved through cytokinin tuning.
PMCID: PMC3806543  PMID: 24061489
Adventitious root apex; Arabidopsis thaliana; auxin biosynthesis; auxin transport; cytokinin localization; quiescent centre; root meristemoids; stem endodermis; thin cell layers; WOX5
16.  ABA-Mediated ROS in Mitochondria Regulate Root Meristem Activity by Controlling PLETHORA Expression in Arabidopsis 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(12):e1004791.
Although research has determined that reactive oxygen species (ROS) function as signaling molecules in plant development, the molecular mechanism by which ROS regulate plant growth is not well known. An aba overly sensitive mutant, abo8-1, which is defective in a pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) protein responsible for the splicing of NAD4 intron 3 in mitochondrial complex I, accumulates more ROS in root tips than the wild type, and the ROS accumulation is further enhanced by ABA treatment. The ABO8 mutation reduces root meristem activity, which can be enhanced by ABA treatment and reversibly recovered by addition of certain concentrations of the reducing agent GSH. As indicated by low ProDR5:GUS expression, auxin accumulation/signaling was reduced in abo8-1. We also found that ABA inhibits the expression of PLETHORA1 (PLT1) and PLT2, and that root growth is more sensitive to ABA in the plt1 and plt2 mutants than in the wild type. The expression of PLT1 and PLT2 is significantly reduced in the abo8-1 mutant. Overexpression of PLT2 in an inducible system can largely rescue root apical meristem (RAM)-defective phenotype of abo8-1 with and without ABA treatment. These results suggest that ABA-promoted ROS in the mitochondria of root tips are important retrograde signals that regulate root meristem activity by controlling auxin accumulation/signaling and PLT expression in Arabidopsis.
Author summary
Abscisic acid (ABA) plays crucial roles in plant growth and development, and also in plant responses to abiotic and biotic stresses. ABA can stimulate the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that act as signals in low concentrations, but as cell-damaging agents in high concentrations. A mutation in ABO8, encoding a pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) protein responsible for the splicing of NAD4 intron 3, leads to hypersensitivity to ABA in root growth, and root tips of the abo8-1 mutants accumulate more ROS than those of the wild type; this accumulation of ROS in abo8-1 root tips is enhanced by ABA treatment. We also found that auxin signaling and/or accumulation is greatly reduced in root tips of the abo8-1 mutants. Addition of the reducing agent GSH to the growth medium partially recovers the root hypersensitivity to ABA, and also the ABA-inhibited expression of PLT1/2 in abo8-1. Furthermore, the inducible expression of PLT2 largely rescues the root growth defect of abo8-1 with and without ABA treatment. Our results reveal the important roles of ROS in regulating root meristem activity in the ABA signaling pathway.
PMCID: PMC4270459  PMID: 25522358
17.  Transcriptome profiling of cytokinin and auxin regulation in tomato root 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2013;64(2):695-704.
Tomato is a model and economically important crop plant with little information available about gene expression in roots. Currently, there have only been a few studies that examine hormonal responses in tomato roots and none at a genome-wide level. This study examined the transcriptome atlas of tomato root regions (root tip, lateral roots, and whole roots) and the transcriptional regulation of each root region in response to the plant hormones cytokinin and auxin using Illumina RNA sequencing. More than 165 million 1×54 base pair reads were mapped onto the Solanum lycopersicum reference genome and differential expression patterns in each root region in response to each hormone were assessed. Many novel cytokinin- and auxin-induced and -repressed genes were identified as significantly differentially expressed and the expression levels of several were confirmed by qPCR. A number of these regulated genes represent tomato orthologues of cytokinin- or auxin-regulated genes identified in other species, including CKXs, type-A RRs, Aux/IAAs, and ARFs. Additionally, the data confirm some of the hormone regulation studies for recently examined genes in tomato such as SlIAAs and SlGH3s. Moreover, genes expressed abundantly in each root region were identified which provide a spatial distribution of many classes of genes, including plant defence, secondary metabolite production, and general metabolism across the root. Overall this study presents the first global expression patterns of hormone-regulated transcripts in tomato roots, which will be functionally relevant for future studies directed towards tomato root growth and development.
PMCID: PMC3542057  PMID: 23307920
Auxin; cytokinin; lateral root; RNA sequencing; root; root tip; tomato.
18.  A map of cell type-specific auxin responses 
A map of cell type-specific auxin responses
The transcriptional response to auxin was analyzed in four root cell types. The newly obtained data were cross-referenced with spatial expression maps to examine auxin's role in regulating gene expression in the root meristem.
The majority of the thousands of auxin-responsive genes in the Arabidopsis thaliana root show a spatial bias in their induction or repression by auxin treatment.Auxin promotes the expression of cell-identity markers for the developing xylem and quiescent center, whereas it inhibits markers for the maturing xylem, cortex and trichoblasts.Relative induction or repression by auxin predicts expression along the longitudinal axis of the root.
In plants, changes in local auxin concentrations can trigger a range of developmental processes as distinct tissues respond differently to the same auxin stimulus. However, little is known about how auxin is interpreted by individual cell types. We performed a transcriptomic analysis of responses to auxin within four distinct tissues of the Arabidopsis thaliana root and demonstrate that different cell types show competence for discrete responses. The majority of auxin-responsive genes displayed a spatial bias in their induction or repression. The novel data set was used to examine how auxin influences tissue-specific transcriptional regulation of cell-identity markers. Additionally, the data were used in combination with spatial expression maps of the root to plot a transcriptomic auxin-response gradient across the apical and basal meristem. The readout revealed a strong correlation for thousands of genes between the relative response to auxin and expression along the longitudinal axis of the root. This data set and comparative analysis provide a transcriptome-level spatial breakdown of the response to auxin within an organ where this hormone mediates many aspects of development.
PMCID: PMC3792342  PMID: 24022006
Arabidopsis; development; root apical meristem; signaling gradient
19.  Determinate primary root growth as an adaptation to aridity in Cactaceae: towards an understanding of the evolution and genetic control of the trait 
Annals of Botany  2013;112(2):239-252.
Background and Aims
Species of Cactaceae are well adapted to arid habitats. Determinate growth of the primary root, which involves early and complete root apical meristem (RAM) exhaustion and differentiation of cells at the root tip, has been reported for some Cactoideae species as a root adaptation to aridity. In this study, the primary root growth patterns of Cactaceae taxa from diverse habitats are classified as being determinate or indeterminate, and the molecular mechanisms underlying RAM maintenance in Cactaceae are explored. Genes that were induced in the primary root of Stenocereus gummosus before RAM exhaustion are identified.
Primary root growth was analysed in Cactaceae seedlings cultivated in vertically oriented Petri dishes. Differentially expressed transcripts were identified after reverse northern blots of clones from a suppression subtractive hybridization cDNA library.
Key Results
All species analysed from six tribes of the Cactoideae subfamily that inhabit arid and semi-arid regions exhibited determinate primary root growth. However, species from the Hylocereeae tribe, which inhabit mesic regions, exhibited mostly indeterminate primary root growth. Preliminary results suggest that seedlings of members of the Opuntioideae subfamily have mostly determinate primary root growth, whereas those of the Maihuenioideae and Pereskioideae subfamilies have mostly indeterminate primary root growth. Seven selected transcripts encoding homologues of heat stress transcription factor B4, histone deacetylase, fibrillarin, phosphoethanolamine methyltransferase, cytochrome P450 and gibberellin-regulated protein were upregulated in S. gummosus root tips during the initial growth phase.
Primary root growth in Cactoideae species matches their environment. The data imply that determinate growth of the primary root became fixed after separation of the Cactiodeae/Opuntioideae and Maihuenioideae/Pereskioideae lineages, and that the genetic regulation of RAM maintenance and its loss in Cactaceae is orchestrated by genes involved in the regulation of gene expression, signalling, and redox and hormonal responses.
PMCID: PMC3698391  PMID: 23666887
Root development; determinate growth of primary root; Cactaceae; Cactoideae; Opuntioideae; Maihuenioideae; Pereskioideae; adaptation to aridity; differential gene expression
20.  Requirement for A-type cyclin-dependent kinase and cyclins for the terminal division in the stomatal lineage of Arabidopsis  
Journal of Experimental Botany  2014;65(9):2449-2461.
CDKA;1 is required for the termial divison of stomatal development. The results presented here use targeted expression to fine-tune the roles of CDKs and cyclins in regulating guard cell production.
The Arabidopsis stoma is a specialized epidermal valve made up of a pair of guard cells around a pore whose aperture controls gas exchange between the shoot and atmosphere. Guard cells (GCs) are produced by a symmetric division of guard mother cells (GMCs). The R2R3-MYB transcription factor FOUR LIPS (FLP) and its paralogue MYB88 restrict the division of a GMC to one. Previously, the upstream regions of several core cell cycle genes were identified as the direct targets of FLP/MYB88, including the B-type cyclin-dependent kinase CDKB1;1 and A2-type cyclin CYCA2;3. Here we show that CDKA;1 is also an immediate direct target of FLP/MYB88 through the binding to cis-regulatory elements in the CDKA;1 promoter region. CDKA;1 activity is required not only for normal GMC divisions but also for the excessive cell overproliferation in flp myb88 mutant GMCs. The impaired defects of GMC division in cdkb1;1 1;2 mutants could be partially rescued by a stage-specific expression of CDKA;1. Although targeted overexpression of CDKA;1 does not affect stomatal development, ectopic expression of the D3-type cyclin CYCD3;2 induces GC subdivision, resulting in a stoma with 3–4 GCs instead of the normal two. Co-overexpression of CDKA;1 with CYCD3;2, but not with CYCA2;3, confers a synergistic effect with respect to GC subdivision. Thus, in addition to a role in stomatal formative asymmetric divisions at early developmental stages, CDKA;1 is needed in triggering GMC symmetric divisions at the late stage of stomatal development. However, timely down-regulation of CDKA;1–CYCD3 activity is required for restriction of GC proliferation.
PMCID: PMC4036514  PMID: 24687979
Arabidopsis; cell cycle; stomatal development; symmetric division; transcription factor.
21.  Putting Theory to the Test: Which Regulatory Mechanisms Can Drive Realistic Growth of a Root? 
PLoS Computational Biology  2014;10(10):e1003910.
In recent years there has been a strong development of computational approaches to mechanistically understand organ growth regulation in plants. In this study, simulation methods were used to explore which regulatory mechanisms can lead to realistic output at the cell and whole organ scale and which other possibilities must be discarded as they result in cellular patterns and kinematic characteristics that are not consistent with experimental observations for the Arabidopsis thaliana primary root. To aid in this analysis, a ‘Uniform Longitudinal Strain Rule’ (ULSR) was formulated as a necessary condition for stable, unidirectional, symplastic growth. Our simulations indicate that symplastic structures are robust to differences in longitudinal strain rates along the growth axis only if these differences are small and short-lived. Whereas simple cell-autonomous regulatory rules based on counters and timers can produce stable growth, it was found that steady developmental zones and smooth transitions in cell lengths are not feasible. By introducing spatial cues into growth regulation, those inadequacies could be avoided and experimental data could be faithfully reproduced. Nevertheless, a root growth model based on previous polar auxin-transport mechanisms violates the proposed ULSR due to the presence of lateral gradients. Models with layer-specific regulation or layer-driven growth offer potential solutions. Alternatively, a model representing the known cross-talk between auxin, as the cell proliferation promoting factor, and cytokinin, as the cell differentiation promoting factor, predicts the effect of hormone-perturbations on meristem size. By down-regulating PIN-mediated transport through the transcription factor SHY2, cytokinin effectively flattens the lateral auxin gradient, at the basal boundary of the division zone, (thereby imposing the ULSR) to signal the exit of proliferation and start of elongation. This model exploration underlines the value of generating virtual root growth kinematics to dissect and understand the mechanisms controlling this biological system.
Author Summary
The growth of a plant root is driven by cell division and cell expansion occurring in spatially distinct developmental zones. Although these zones are in principle stable, depending on the conditions, their size and properties can be modulated. This has been meticulously described by kinematic studies, which have led to the proposal of mechanisms underpinning those observations. At the same time, much knowledge of the identities and interactions of molecules involved in these mechanisms has accumulated, in particular from the model species Arabidopsis thaliana. Here we attempt to resolve the longstanding question whether observed growth patterns can be explained by autonomous decision-making at the level of individual cells or if the aid of some external signal is required. We then ask, building on the accumulated molecular information, which minimal models can provide for stable growth while keeping sufficient flexibility to regulate growth. Therefore, we constructed computational models for different growth mechanisms operating in a virtual two-dimensional Arabidopsis root and compared their behaviour with biological experiments. The simulations provide strong indications that spatial signals are required for realistic and flexible root growth, likely orchestrated by the plant hormones auxin and cytokinin.
PMCID: PMC4214622  PMID: 25358093
22.  The Aux/IAA gene rum1 involved in seminal and lateral root formation controls vascular patterning in maize (Zea mays L.) primary roots 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2014;65(17):4919-4930.
RNA-Seq of RUM1-dependent gene expression in maize primary roots, in combination with histological analyses, highlighted the regulation of auxin signal transduction by RUM1 and its role in vascular development.
The maize (Zea mays L.) Aux/IAA protein RUM1 (ROOTLESS WITH UNDETECTABLE MERISTEMS 1) controls seminal and lateral root initiation. To identify RUM1-dependent gene expression patterns, RNA-Seq of the differentiation zone of primary roots of rum1 mutants and the wild type was performed in four biological replicates. In total, 2 801 high-confidence maize genes displayed differential gene expression with Fc ≥2 and FDR ≤1%. The auxin signalling-related genes rum1, like-auxin1 (lax1), lax2, (nam ataf cuc 1 nac1), the plethora genes plt1 (plethora 1), bbm1 (baby boom 1), and hscf1 (heat shock complementing factor 1) and the auxin response factors arf8 and arf37 were down-regulated in the mutant rum1. All of these genes except nac1 were auxin-inducible. The maize arf8 and arf37 genes are orthologues of Arabidopsis MP/ARF5 (MONOPTEROS/ARF5), which controls the differentiation of vascular cells. Histological analyses of mutant rum1 roots revealed defects in xylem organization and the differentiation of pith cells around the xylem. Moreover, histochemical staining of enlarged pith cells surrounding late metaxylem elements demonstrated that their thickened cell walls displayed excessive lignin deposition. In line with this phenotype, rum1-dependent mis-expression of several lignin biosynthesis genes was observed. In summary, RNA-Seq of RUM1-dependent gene expression in maize primary roots, in combination with histological and histochemical analyses, revealed the specific regulation of auxin signal transduction components by RUM1 and novel functions of RUM1 in vascular development.
PMCID: PMC4144770  PMID: 24928984
Auxin; lateral roots; lignification; RNA-Seq; RUM1; vasculature; xylem.
23.  Regulatory dephosphorylation of CDK at G2/M in plants: yeast mitotic phosphatase cdc25 induces cytokinin-like effects in transgenic tobacco morphogenesis 
Annals of Botany  2011;107(7):1071-1086.
During the last three decades, the cell cycle and its control by cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) have been extensively studied in eukaryotes. This endeavour has produced an overall picture that basic mechanisms seem to be largely conserved among all eukaryotes. The intricate regulation of CDK activities includes, among others, CDK activation by CDC25 phosphatase at G2/M. In plants, however, studies of this regulation have lagged behind as a plant Cdc25 homologue or other unrelated phosphatase active at G2/M have not yet been identified.
Failure to identify a plant mitotic CDK activatory phosphatase led to characterization of the effects of alien cdc25 gene expression in plants. Tobacco, expressing the Schizosaccharomyces pombe mitotic activator gene, Spcdc25, exhibited morphological, developmental and biochemical changes when compared with wild type (WT) and, importantly, increased CDK dephosphorylation at G2/M. Besides changes in leaf shape, internode length and root development, in day-neutral tobacco there was dramatically earlier onset of flowering with a disturbed acropetal floral capacity gradient typical of WT. In vitro, de novo organ formation revealed substantially earlier and more abundant formation of shoot primordia on Spcdc25 tobacco stem segments grown on shoot-inducing media when compared with WT. Moreover, in contrast to WT, stem segments from transgenic plants formed shoots even without application of exogenous growth regulator. Spcdc25-expressing BY-2 cells exhibited a reduced mitotic cell size due to a shortening of the G2 phase together with high activity of cyclin-dependent kinase, NtCDKB1, in early S-phase, S/G2 and early M-phase. Spcdc25-expressing tobacco (‘Samsun’) cell suspension cultures showed a clustered, more circular, cell phenotype compared with chains of elongated WT cells, and increased content of starch and soluble sugars. Taken together, Spcdc25 expression had cytokinin-like effects on the characteristics studied, although determination of endogenous cytokinin levels revealed a dramatic decrease in Spcdc25 transgenics.
The data gained using the plants expressing yeast mitotic activator, Spcdc25, clearly argue for the existence and importance of activatory dephosphorylation at G2/M transition and its interaction with cytokinin signalling in plants. The observed cytokinin-like effects of Spcdc25 expression are consistent with the concept of interaction between cell cycle regulators and phytohormones during plant development. The G2/M control of the plant cell cycle, however, remains an elusive issue as doubts persist about the mode of activatory dephosphorylation, which in other eukaryotes is provided by Cdc25 phosphatase serving as a final all-or-nothing mitosis regulator.
PMCID: PMC3091802  PMID: 21339187
Cell cycle regulation; G2/M transition; cdc25 phosphatase; cytokinin
24.  A Rho Scaffold Integrates the Secretory System with Feedback Mechanisms in Regulation of Auxin Distribution 
PLoS Biology  2010;8(1):e1000282.
In plants, auxin distribution and tissue patterning are coordinated via a feedback loop involving the auxin-regulated cell polarity factor ICR1 and the secretory machinery.
Development in multicellular organisms depends on the ability of individual cells to coordinate their behavior by means of small signaling molecules to form correctly patterned tissues. In plants, a unique mechanism of directional transport of the signaling molecule auxin between cells connects cell polarity and tissue patterning and thus is required for many aspects of plant development. Direction of auxin flow is determined by polar subcellular localization of PIN auxin efflux transporters. Dynamic PIN polar localization results from the constitutive endocytic cycling to and from the plasma membrane, but it is not well understood how this mechanism connects to regulators of cell polarity. The Rho family small GTPases ROPs/RACs are master regulators of cell polarity, however their role in regulating polar protein trafficking and polar auxin transport has not been established. Here, by analysis of mutants and transgenic plants, we show that the ROP interactor and polarity regulator scaffold protein ICR1 is required for recruitment of PIN proteins to the polar domains at the plasma membrane. icr1 mutant embryos and plants display an a array of severe developmental aberrations that are caused by compromised differential auxin distribution. ICR1 functions at the plasma membrane where it is required for exocytosis but does not recycle together with PINs. ICR1 expression is quickly induced by auxin but is suppressed at the positions of stable auxin maxima in the hypophysis and later in the embryonic and mature root meristems. Our results imply that ICR1 is part of an auxin regulated positive feedback loop realized by a unique integration of auxin-dependent transcriptional regulation into ROP-mediated modulation of cell polarity. Thus, ICR1 forms an auxin-modulated link between cell polarity, exocytosis, and auxin transport-dependent tissue patterning.
Author Summary
The coordination of different cells during pattern formation is a fundamental process in the development of multicellular organisms. In plants, a unique mechanism of directional transport of the signaling molecule auxin between cells demonstrates the importance of cell polarity for tissue patterning. The direction of auxin flow is determined by polar subcellular localization of auxin transport proteins called PINs, which facilitate auxin efflux. At the same time, an auxin-mediated positive feedback mechanism reinforces the polar distribution of PINs. However, the molecular mechanisms that underlie polar PIN localization are not well understood. In eukaryotic cells, the Rho family of small GTPases function as central regulators of cell polarity. We show that a Rho-interacting protein from plants, called ICR1, is required for recruitment via the secretory system of PIN proteins to polar domains in the cell membrane. As a result, ICR1 is required for directional auxin transport and distribution and thereby for proper pattern formation. In addition, both the expression and subcellular localization of ICR1 are regulated by auxin, suggesting that ICR1 could function in a positive feedback loop that reinforces auxin distribution. Thus, ICR1 forms an auxin-modulated link between cell polarity, protein secretion, and auxin-dependent tissue patterning.
PMCID: PMC2808208  PMID: 20098722
25.  Cyclin-dependent kinase complexes in developing maize endosperm: evidence for differential expression and functional specialization 
Planta  2013;239(2):493-509.
Endosperm development in maize (Zea mays L.) and related cereals comprises a cell proliferation stage followed by a period of rapid growth coupled to endoreduplication. Regulation of the cell cycle in developing endosperm is poorly understood. We have characterized various subunits of cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) complexes, master cell cycle regulators in all eukaryotes. A-, B-, and D-type cyclins as well as A- and B-type cyclin-dependent kinases were characterized with respect to their RNA and protein expression profiles. Two main patterns were identified: one showing expression throughout endosperm development, and another characterized by a sharp down-regulation with the onset of endoreduplication. Cyclin CYCB1;3 and CYCD2;1 proteins were distributed in the cytoplasm and nucleus of cells throughout the endosperm, while cyclin CYCD5 protein was localized in the cytoplasm of peripheral cells. CDKB1;1 expression was strongly associated with cell proliferation. Expression and cyclin-binding patterns suggested that CDKA;1 and CDKA;3 are at least partially redundant. The kinase activity associated with the cyclin CYCA1 was highest during the mitotic stage of development, while that associated with CYCB1;3, CYCD2;1 and CYCD5 peaked at the mitosis-to-endoreduplication transition. A-, B- and D-type cyclins were more resistant to proteasome-dependent degradation in endoreduplicating than in mitotic endosperm extracts. These results indicated that endosperm development is characterized by differential expression and activity of specific cyclins and CDKs, and suggested that endoreduplication is associated with reduced cyclin proteolysis via the ubiquitin–proteasome pathway.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00425-013-1990-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3902077  PMID: 24240479
Cell division; Cell expansion; Endoreduplication; Proteasome; Zea

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