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During post-embryonic development, the pericycle specifies the stem cells that give rise to both lateral roots (LRs) and the periderm, a suberized barrier that protects the plant against biotic and abiotic stresses. Comparable auxin-mediated signaling hubs regulate meristem establishment in many developmental contexts; however, it is unknown how specific outputs are achieved. Using the Arabidopsis root as a model, we show that while LR formation is the main auxin-induced program after de-etiolation, plants with age become competent to form a periderm in response to auxin. The establishment of the vascular cambium acts as the developmental switch required to trigger auxin-mediated periderm initiation. Moreover, distinct auxin signaling components and targets control LR versus periderm formation. Among the periderm-specific-promoting transcription factors, WUSCHEL-RELATED HOMEOBOX 4 (WOX4) and KNAT1/BREVIPEDICELLUS (BP) stand out as their specific overexpression in the periderm results in an increased number of periderm layers, a trait of agronomical importance in breeding programs targeting stress tolerance. These findings reveal that specificity in pericycle stem cell fate is achieved by the integration of developmental cues into distinct regulatory modules. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Wei Xiao, David Molina, Anna Wunderling, Dagmar Ripper, Joop E M Vermeer, Laura Ragni. Pluripotent Pericycle Cells Trigger Different Growth Outputs by Integrating Developmental Cues into Distinct Regulatory Modules. Current biology : CB. 2020 Nov 16;30(22):4384-4398.e5

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PMID: 32916110

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