A broad competence to respond to SHORT ROOT revealed by tissue-specific ectopic expression.
In plants, cell fate specification depends primarily on position rather than lineage. Recent results indicate that positional information can be transmitted through intercellular trafficking of transcription factors. The SHORT ROOT (SHR) gene, a member of the GRAS family of putative transcription factors, is involved in root radial patterning in Arabidopsis. Correct radial patterning depends on the positional information transmitted through limited SHR intercellular movement and translated into cell division and specification by competent target cells. To investigate the regulation of SHR movement and the competence to respond to it, we drove expression of a translational fusion SHR::GFP using four different tissue-specific promoters. In a wild-type background, SHR::GFP was not able to move from either phloem companion cells or epidermal cells, both of which have been shown to support movement of other proteins, suggesting a requirement for tissue-specific factors for SHR movement. When expressed from its native promoter in plants with multiple endodermal layers, SHR::GFP was not able to move beyond the first endodermal layer, indicating that movement is not limited by a mechanism that recognizes boundaries between cell types. Surprisingly, movement of SHR::GFP was observed when ectopic expression from an epidermal promoter was placed in a scarecrow (scr) mutant background, revealing a possible role for SCR in limiting movement. Analysis of the competence to respond to SHR-mediated cell specification activity indicated that it was broadly distributed in the epidermal lineage, while competence to respond to the cell division activity of SHR appeared limited to the initials and involved induction of SCR. The spatial distribution of competence to respond to SHR highlights the importance of tightly regulated movement in generating the root radial pattern.
Sena, G; Jung, JW; Benfey, PN
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