Plant biology

Getting There Is Only Half the Fun

Science Signaling  30 Aug 2011:
Vol. 4, Issue 188, pp. ec242
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.4188ec242

Although most transcription factors are synthesized in the same cell in which they act, in plants some transcription factors get shipped into other cells, where they take action on the genes of the destination cell. The transcription factors KNOTTED1 (KN1) of maize and the closely similar SHOOTMERISTEMLESS (STM) of Arabidopsis, as well as SHORTROOT (SHR) of Arabidopsis, are a few of these peripatetic regulators. These factors need to travel through the plasmodesmata that connect one cell to another. Xu et al. (see the Perspective by Jorgensen) used a reporter system in Arabidopsis that depends on the transport of the transcription factor to direct trichome development. A specific chaperonin complex was required in the recipient cell for full function of KN1 or STM, which highlights the need for refolding of these transcription factors after transport.

X. M. Xu, J. Wang, Z. Xuan, A. Goldshmidt, P. G. M. Borrill, N. Hariharan, J. Y. Kim, D. Jackson, Chaperonins facilitate KNOTTED1 cell-to-cell trafficking and stem cell function. Science 333, 1141–1144 (2011). [Abstract] [Full Text]

R. A. Jorgensen, A window on the sophistication of plants. Science 333, 1103–1104 (2011). [Abstract] [Full Text]