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Repression of boundary genes by KNOTTED1-like homeodomain transcription factor BREVIPEDICELLUS promotes the differentiation of phase II secondary xylem in Arabidopsis roots. Plant growth and development relies on the activity of meristems. Boundaries are domains of restricted growth that separate forming organs and the meristem. Class I KNOX homeodomain transcription factors are important regulators of meristem maintenance. Members of this class including BREVIDICELLUS also called KNOTTED-LIKE FROM ARABIDOPSIS THALIANA1 (BP/KNAT1) fulfill this function in part by spatially regulating boundary genes. The vascular cambium is a lateral meristem that allows for radial expansion of organs during secondary growth. We show here that BP/KNAT1 repression of boundary genes plays a crucial role in root secondary growth. In particular, exclusion of BLADE-ON-PETIOLE1/2 (BOP1/2) and other members of this module from xylem is required for the differentiation of lignified fibers and vessels during the xylem expansion phase of root thickening. These data reveal a previously undiscovered role for boundary genes in the root and shed light on mechanisms controlling wood development in trees.


Natalie Woerlen, Gamalat Allam, Adina Popescu, Laura Corrigan, Véronique Pautot, Shelley R Hepworth. Repression of BLADE-ON-PETIOLE genes by KNOX homeodomain protein BREVIPEDICELLUS is essential for differentiation of secondary xylem in Arabidopsis root. Planta. 2017 Jun;245(6):1079-1090

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PMID: 28204875

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