The PLETHORA genes mediate patterning of the Arabidopsis root stem cell niche

Mitsuhiro Aida, Dimitris Beis, Renze Heidstra, Viola Willemsen, Ikram Blilou, Carla Galinha, Laurent Nussaume, Yoo Sun Noh, Richard Amasino, Ben Scheres*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

898 Scopus citations


A small organizing center, the quiescent center (QC), maintains stem cells in the Arabidopsis root and defines the stem cell niche. The phytohormone auxin influences the position of this niche by an unknown mechanism. Here, we identify the PLETHORA1 (PLT1) and PLT2 genes encoding AP2 class putative transcription factors, which are essential for QC specification and stem cell activity. The PLT genes are transcribed in response to auxin accumulation and are dependent on auxin response transcription factors. Distal PLT transcript accumulation creates an overlap with the radial expression domains of SHORT-ROOT and SCARECROW, providing positional information for the stem cell niche. Furthermore, the PLT genes are activated in the basal embryo region that gives rise to hypocotyl, root, and root stem cells and, when ectopically expressed, transform apical regions to these identities. Thus, the PLT genes are key effectors for establishment of the stem cell niche during embryonic pattern formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-120
Number of pages12
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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