A chromatin link that couples cell division to root epidermis patterning in Arabidopsis


Cell proliferation and cell fate decisions are strictly coupled processes during plant embryogenesis and organogenesis1,2,3,4,5. In the Arabidopsis thaliana root epidermis, expression of the homeobox GLABRA2 (GL2) gene determines hair/non-hair cell fate6,7. This requires signalling of positional information from the underlying cortical layer8,9, complex transcriptional regulation10,11 and a change in chromatin accessibility12. However, the molecular connections among these factors and with cell division are not known. Here we have identified a GL2-expression modulator, GEM, as an interactor of CDT1, a DNA replication protein. GEM also interacts with TTG1 (TRANSPARENT TESTA GLABRA1), a WD40-repeat protein involved in GL2-dependent cell fate decision, and modulates both cell division and GL2 expression. Here we show that GEM participates in the maintenance of the repressor histone H3K9 methylation status of root patterning genes, providing a link between cell division, fate and differentiation during Arabidopsis root development.

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Figure 1: Identification of GEM , and root hair and trichome phenotypes in mutant plants.
Figure 2: GEM regulates the expression of the cell fate GL2 gene and the epidermal cell division rate.
Figure 3: GEM interacts with TTG1, CDT1 and with the GL2 and CPC promoters.
Figure 4: GEM controls the histone H3 acetylation and K9 methylation status of GL2 and CPC genes.


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We acknowledge the technical help of A. Diaz and C. Vaca. We thank J. Schiefelbein for the pGL2-GUS, scm-2 and ttg1-1 seeds, and M. Cortés for the root sections, L. Tormo for the scanning electron microscopy, and J. Schiefelbein, M. A. Blasco, B. Scheres, P. Benfey, L. Serna, E. Martinez-Salas, and J. A. Tercero for comments. E.C. is a recipient of a PhD Fellowship from the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science. Research was supported by grants from the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science, and by an institutional grant from Fundación Ramón Areces.

Author Contributions C.G. supervised the project and wrote the manuscript with comments from co-authors. M.M.C. started the project isolating the GEM cDNA by yeast two-hybrid screening and studying the CDT1–GEM interaction. E.C. and C.G. conceived and designed the rest of the experiments, which were all performed by E.C.

The NCBI/GenBank accession number for the gene identified in this manuscript is EF490993 (GEM mRNA).

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Correspondence to Crisanto Gutierrez.

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Caro, E., Castellano, M. & Gutierrez, C. A chromatin link that couples cell division to root epidermis patterning in Arabidopsis. Nature 447, 213–217 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature05763

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