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Science 316 (5823): 421-425

Copyright © 2007 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

An Evolutionarily Conserved Mechanism Delimiting SHR Movement Defines a Single Layer of Endodermis in Plants

Hongchang Cui,1 Mitchell P. Levesque,1*{dagger} Teva Vernoux,1*{ddagger} Jee W. Jung,1 Alice J. Paquette,1 Kimberly L. Gallagher,1§ Jean Y. Wang,1 Ikram Blilou,2 Ben Scheres,2 Philip N. Benfey1||

Abstract: Intercellular protein movement plays a critical role in animal and plant development. SHORTROOT (SHR) is a moving transcription factor essential for endodermis specification in the Arabidopsis root. Unlike diffusible animal morphogens, which form a gradient across multiple cell layers, SHR movement is limited to essentially one cell layer. However, the molecular mechanism is unknown. We show that SCARECROW (SCR) blocks SHR movement by sequestering it into the nucleus through protein-protein interaction and a safeguard mechanism that relies on a SHR/SCR-dependent positive feedback loop for SCR transcription. Our studies with SHR and SCR homologs from rice suggest that this mechanism is evolutionarily conserved, providing a plausible explanation why nearly all plants have a single layer of endodermis.

1 Department of Biology and Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA.
2 Department of Molecular Genetics, Utrecht University, Padualaan 8, 3584CH Utrecht, Netherlands.

* These authors contributed equally to this work.

{dagger} Present address: Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Department of Genetics and Genomics, Spemannstrasse 35/III, D-72076 Tübingen, Germany.

{ddagger} Present address: Reproduction et Développement des Plantes Laboratory, Unité Mixte de Recherche 5667, Ecole Normale Supérieurede Lyon, 46, Alleé d'Italie, 69364 Lyon Cedex 07, France.

§ Present address: Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.

|| To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: philip.benfey{at}

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