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Multiple feedback loops through cytokinin signaling control stem cell number within the Arabidopsis shoot meristem

Gordon, Sean P. and Chickarmane, Vijay S. and Ohno, Carolyn and Meyerowitz, Elliot M. (2009) Multiple feedback loops through cytokinin signaling control stem cell number within the Arabidopsis shoot meristem. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 106 (38). pp. 16529-16534. ISSN 0027-8424. PMCID PMC2752578. doi:10.1073/pnas.0908122106.

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A central unanswered question in stem cell biology, both in plants and in animals, is how the spatial organization of stem cell niches are maintained as cells move through them. We address this question for the shoot apical meristem (SAM) which harbors pluripotent stem cells responsible for growth of above-ground tissues in flowering plants. We find that localized perception of the plant hormone cytokinin establishes a spatial domain in which cell fate is respecified through induction of the master regulator WUSCHEL as cells are displaced during growth. Cytokinin-induced WUSCHEL expression occurs through both CLAVATA-dependent and CLAVATA-independent pathways. Computational analysis shows that feedback between cytokinin response and genetic regulators predicts their relative patterning, which we confirm experimentally. Our results also may explain how increasing cytokinin concentration leads to the first steps in reestablishing the shoot stem cell niche in vitro.

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Meyerowitz, Elliot M.0000-0003-4798-5153
Additional Information:© 2009 National Academy of Sciences. Contributed by Elliot M. Meyerowitz, July 27, 2009 (received for review June 3, 2009). Published online before print August 26, 2009, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0908122106. We thank P. Benfey for the pWOODENLEG::GFP line referred to here as the AHK4 reporter, pAHK4::GFP. The pARR5::GFP line was provided by J. Kieber and Y. Helariutta provided the pAHP6::AHP6-GFP line. Cytokinin receptor mutants were provided by T. Kakimoto. We thank the Computable Plant group ( including H. Jönsson, M. Heisler, A. Roeder, and P. Tarr for comments on the manuscript; K. Sugimoto for advice with RT-PCR analysis of treated root explants; A. Martin for sample collection of cytokinin serial dilutions; and A. Garda for technical support. This study was supported by National Science Foundation grants IOS-0846192 and IOS-0544915 to E.M.M. Author contributions: S.P.G. and V.S.C. designed research; S.P.G. performed research; C.O. contributed new reagents/analytic tools; V.S.C. performed the computational analysis and model building; S.P.G., V.S.C., and E.M.M. analyzed data; and S.P.G., V.C., and E.M.M. wrote the paper. The authors declare no conflict of interest. This article contains supporting information online at
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Subject Keywords:clavata; wuschel; computational modeling
Issue or Number:38
PubMed Central ID:PMC2752578
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20091013-093447174
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Official Citation:Sean P. Gordon, Vijay S. Chickarmane, Carolyn Ohno, and Elliot M. Meyerowitz Multiple feedback loops through cytokinin signaling control stem cell number within the Arabidopsis shoot meristem PNAS 2009 106 (38) 16529-16534; published ahead of print August 26, 2009, doi:10.1073/pnas.0908122106
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:16292
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:21 Oct 2009 22:35
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 23:25

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