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Chromatin organization and cell fate switch respond to positional information in Arabidopsis

Abstract

Many types of plant cell retain their developmental plasticity and have the capacity to switch fate when exposed to a new source of positional information. In the root epidermis of Arabidopsis, cells differentiate in alternating files of hair cells and non-hair cells1,2, in response to positional information and the activity of the homoeodomain transcription factor GLABRA2 (GL2) in future non-hair cells3,4,5,6. Here we show by three-dimensional fluorescence in situ hybridization on intact root epidermal tissue that alternative states of chromatin organization around the GL2 locus are required to control position-dependent cell-type specification. When, as a result of an atypical cell division, a cell is displaced from a hair file into a non-hair file, it switches fate6. We show that during this event the chromatin state around the GL2 locus is not inherited, but is reorganized in the G1 phase of the cell cycle in response to local positional information. This ability to remodel chromatin organization may provide the basis for the plasticity in plant cell fate changes.

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Figure 1: Cell-type-specific chromatin organization at the GL2 locus in meristematic epidermal nuclei.
Figure 2: FAS2 is required to control position-dependent cell-type specification.
Figure 3: Epidermal T clones show that chromatin state in the GL2 region is defined by position and not by cell lineage.
Figure 4: Chromatin state in the GL2 region is reset upon change in cell position.

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Acknowledgements

We thank L. Dolan, G. Moore, C. Dean and M. Towers for discussion and advice. This work was funded by the BBSRC and the Gatsby Charitable Foundation.

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Correspondence to Peter Shaw.

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Reprints and permissions information is available at npg.nature.com/reprintsandpermissions. The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Figure 1

Schematic representation of the organisation of the Arabidopsis root epidermis. (DOC 192 kb)

Supplementary Figure 2

Close-ups of chromatin organisation at the GL2 locus in wild-type and cpc nuclei and scatter plots of FISH signal intensities measured on both. (DOC 394 kb)

Supplementary Figure 3

In wer mutant every cell of the meristematic root epidermis is in an open chromatin state in the GL2 region. (DOC 640 kb)

Supplementary Figure 4

The number of FISH signals detected indicates the cell cycle stage. (DOC 486 kb)

Supplementary Figure 5

Throughout mitosis the GL2 locus is accessible to FISH probes. (DOC 91 kb)

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Costa, S., Shaw, P. Chromatin organization and cell fate switch respond to positional information in Arabidopsis. Nature 439, 493–496 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature04269

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