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Steroids are required for epidermal cell fate establishment in Arabidopsis roots

TitleSteroids are required for epidermal cell fate establishment in Arabidopsis roots
Publication TypeMiscellaneous
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsKuppusamy KT, Chen AY, Nemhauser JL
ISBN Number1091-6490 (Electronic)
KeywordsArabidopsis Proteins/metabolism, Arabidopsis/*cytology/*metabolism, Cell Differentiation, Cell Division, Mushroom Bodies, Cycloheximide/pharmacology, Gene Expression Regulation, Plant, Models, Biological, Reproductive Isolation, Plant Proteins/metabolism, Plant Roots/*metabolism, Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction, Signal Transduction, Steroids/*metabolism

The simple structure of Arabidopsis roots provides an excellent model system to study epidermal cell fate specification. Epidermal cells in contact with 2 underlying cortical cells differentiate into hair cells (H cells; trichoblasts), whereas cells that contact only a single cortical cell differentiate into mature hairless cells (N cells; atrichoblasts). This position-dependent patterning, in combination with the constrained orientation of cell divisions, results in hair and nonhair cell files running longitudinally along the root epidermis. Here, we present strong evidence that steroid hormones called brassinosteroids (BRs) are required to maintain position-dependent fate specification in roots. We show that BRs are required for normal expression levels and patterns of WEREWOLF (WER) and GLABRA2 (GL2), master regulators of epidermal patterning. Loss of BR signaling results in loss of hair cells in H positions, likely as a consequence of reduced expression of CAPRICE (CPC), a direct downstream target of WER. Our observations demonstrate that in addition to their well-known role in cell expansion, BRs play an essential role in directing cell fate.