[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Establishment of the embryonic axis foreshadows the main body axis of adults both in plants and in animals, but underlying mechanisms are considered distinct. Plants utilize directional, cell-to-cell transport of the growth hormone auxin [1, 2] to generate an asymmetric auxin response that specifies the embryonic apical-basal axis [3-6]. The auxin flow directionality depends on the polarized subcellular localization of PIN-FORMED (PIN) auxin transporters [7, 8]. It remains unknown which mechanisms and spatial cues guide cell polarization and axis orientation in early embryos. Herein, we provide conceptually novel insights into the formation of embryonic axis in Arabidopsis by identifying a crucial role of localized tryptophan-dependent auxin biosynthesis [9-12]. Local auxin production at the base of young embryos and the accompanying PIN7-mediated auxin flow toward the proembryo are required for the apical auxin response maximum and the specification of apical embryonic structures. Later in embryogenesis, the precisely timed onset of localized apical auxin biosynthesis mediates PIN1 polarization, basal auxin response maximum, and specification of the root pole. Thus, the tight spatiotemporal control of distinct local auxin sources provides a necessary, non-cell-autonomous trigger for the coordinated cell polarization and subsequent apical-basal axis orientation during embryogenesis and, presumably, also for other polarization events during postembryonic plant life [13, 14].
Current biology: CB 11/2013; · 10.99 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Plants grow elaborate architectures by repeatedly initiating new organs post-embryonically. The competence to do so depends on the activity of meristems, stem cell niches located at the tips of shoot and root. These meristems are first specified early during embryogenesis. Therefore, important insight into the activity of factors that are central to the establishment of stem cell niches in plants can be gained from studying early embryogenesis. However, embryos are not directly accessible to microscopic observation since they are embedded within the seed, which is itself enveloped by the fruit. Here we describe a suite of methods for the analysis of mutant phenotypes, fluorescent reporter gene expression and protein localization in Arabidopsis embryos, and show how these methods can be used to visualize key factors in embryonic root formation.
Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) 01/2013; 959:137-48.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The cell types of the plant root are first specified early during embryogenesis and are maintained throughout plant life. Auxin plays an essential role in embryonic root initiation, in part through the action of the ARF5/MP transcription factor and its auxin-labile inhibitor IAA12/BDL. MP and BDL function in embryonic cells but promote auxin transport to adjacent extraembryonic suspensor cells, including the quiescent center precursor (hypophysis). Here we show that a cell-autonomous auxin response within this cell is required for root meristem initiation. ARF9 and redundant ARFs, and their inhibitor IAA10, act in suspensor cells to mediate hypophysis specification and, surprisingly, also to prevent transformation to embryo identity. ARF misexpression, and analysis of the short suspensor mutant, demonstrates that lineage-specific expression of these ARFs is required for normal embryo development. These results imply the existence of a prepattern for a cell-type-specific auxin response that underlies the auxin-dependent specification of embryonic cell types.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The plant hormone auxin triggers a wide range of developmental and growth responses throughout a plant's life. Most well-known auxin responses involve changes in gene expression that are mediated by a short pathway involving an auxin-receptor/ubiquitin-ligase, DNA-binding auxin response factor (ARF) transcription factors and their interacting auxin/indole-3-acetic acid (Aux/IAA) transcriptional inhibitors. Auxin promotes the degradation of Aux/IAA proteins through the auxin receptor and hence releases the inhibition of ARF transcription factors. Although this generic mechanism is now well understood, it is still unclear how developmental specificity is generated and how individual gene family members of response components contribute to local auxin responses. We have established a collection of transcriptional reporters for the ARF gene family and used these to generate a map of expression during embryogenesis and in the primary root meristem. Our results demonstrate that transcriptional regulation of ARF genes generates a complex pattern of overlapping activities. Genetic analysis shows that functions of co-expressed ARFs converge on the same biological processes, but can act either antagonistically or synergistically. Importantly, the existence of an 'ARF pre-pattern' could explain how cell-type-specific auxin responses are generated. Furthermore, this resource can now be used to probe the functions of ARF in other auxin-dependent processes.
The Plant Journal 08/2011; 68(4):597-606. · 6.58 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: With plant molecular biology entering the omics era, there is a need for simple cloning strategies that allow high throughput to systematically study the expression and function of large numbers of genes. Such strategies would facilitate the analysis of gene (sub)families and/or sets of coexpressed genes identified by transcriptomics. Here, we provide a set of 34 ligation-independent cloning (LIC) binary vectors for expression analysis, protein localization studies, and misexpression that will be made freely available. This set of plant LIC vectors offers a fast alternative to standard cloning strategies involving ligase or recombination enzyme technology. We demonstrate the use of this strategy and our new vectors by analyzing the expression domains of genes belonging to two subclades of the basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor family. We show that neither the closest homologs of TARGET OF MONOPTEROS7 (TMO7/ATBS1) nor the members of the ATBS1 INTERACTING FACTOR subclade of putative TMO7 interactors are expressed in the embryo and that there is very limited coexpression in the primary root meristem. This suggests that these basic helix-loop-helix transcription factors are most likely not involved in TMO7-dependent root meristem initiation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Plants adapt to different environmental conditions by constantly forming new organs in response to morphogenetic signals. Lateral roots branch from the main root in response to local auxin maxima. How a local auxin maximum translates into a robust pattern of gene activation ensuring the proper growth of the newly formed lateral root is largely unknown. Here, we demonstrate that miR390, TAS3-derived trans-acting short-interfering RNAs (tasiRNAs), and AUXIN RESPONSE FACTORS (ARFs) form an auxin-responsive regulatory network controlling lateral root growth. Spatial expression analysis using reporter gene fusions, tasi/miRNA sensors, and mutant analysis showed that miR390 is specifically expressed at the sites of lateral root initiation where it triggers the biogenesis of tasiRNAs. These tasiRNAs inhibit ARF2, ARF3, and ARF4, thus releasing repression of lateral root growth. In addition, ARF2, ARF3, and ARF4 affect auxin-induced miR390 accumulation. Positive and negative feedback regulation of miR390 by ARF2, ARF3, and ARF4 thus ensures the proper definition of the miR390 expression pattern. This regulatory network maintains ARF expression in a concentration range optimal for specifying the timing of lateral root growth, a function similar to its activity during leaf development. These results also show how small regulatory RNAs integrate with auxin signaling to quantitatively regulate organ growth during development.
The Plant Cell 04/2010; 22(4):1104-17. · 9.25 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The basic mechanism of auxin as a modulator of gene expression is now well understood. Interactions among three components are required for this process. Auxin is first perceived by its receptor, which then promotes degradation of inhibitors of auxin response transcription factors. These in turn are released from inhibition and modify expression of target genes. How this simple signaling pathway is able to regulate a diverse range of auxin responses is not as well understood, however a clue lies in the existence of large gene families for all components. Recent data indicates that diversification of gene expression patterns, protein activity, and protein-protein interactions among components establishes a matrix of response machineries that generates specific outputs from the generic auxin signal.
Current opinion in plant biology 09/2009; 12(5):520-6. · 10.33 Impact Factor