A bistable circuit involving SCARECROW-RETINOBLASTOMA integrates cues to inform asymmetric stem cell division

Alfredo Cruz-Ramírez, Sara Díaz-Triviño, Ikram Blilou, Verônica A. Grieneisen, Rosangela Sozzani, Christos Zamioudis, Pál Miskolczi, Jeroen Nieuwland, René Benjamins, Pankaj Dhonukshe, Juan Caballero-Pérez, Beatrix Horvath, Yuchen Long, Ari Pekka Mähönen, Hongtao Zhang, Jian Xu, James A.H. Murray, Philip N. Benfey, Laszlo Bako, Athanasius F.M. Marée*Ben Scheres

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

228 Citations (SciVal)


In plants, where cells cannot migrate, asymmetric cell divisions (ACDs) must be confined to the appropriate spatial context. We investigate tissue-generating asymmetric divisions in a stem cell daughter within the Arabidopsis root. Spatial restriction of these divisions requires physical binding of the stem cell regulator SCARECROW (SCR) by the RETINOBLASTOMA-RELATED (RBR) protein. In the stem cell niche, SCR activity is counteracted by phosphorylation of RBR through a cyclinD6;1-CDK complex. This cyclin is itself under transcriptional control of SCR and its partner SHORT ROOT (SHR), creating a robust bistable circuit with either high or low SHR-SCR complex activity. Auxin biases this circuit by promoting CYCD6;1 transcription. Mathematical modeling shows that ACDs are only switched on after integration of radial and longitudinal information, determined by SHR and auxin distribution, respectively. Coupling of cell-cycle progression to protein degradation resets the circuit, resulting in a "flip flop" that constrains asymmetric cell division to the stem cell region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1002-1015
Number of pages14
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 31 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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