Editors' ChoicePlant biology

The Root of the Problem

Science Signaling  19 Nov 2013:
Vol. 6, Issue 302, pp. ec285
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2004922

The quiescent center (QC) within the root meristem plays a key role as a stem cell organizer to sustain the root stem cell niche. The QC cells execute a dual role: prevention of the differentiation of neighboring stem cells and maintenance of the root structure by undergoing only occasional cell division. The mechanisms that account for the low QC proliferation are unclear, although the anaphase-promoting complex/cyclosome (APC/C) E3 ubiquitin ligase is known to suppress QC cell division. Through a systematic functional analysis of APC/C-copurifying proteins, Heyman et al. characterized a transcription factor ERF115 as a rate-limiting factor for QC cell division. ERF115 needs to be destroyed to retain QC cells in a resting state. ERF115 operates in a brassinosteroid-dependent manner and controls QC cell division through transcriptional activation of phytosulfokine signaling.

J. Heyman, T. Cools, F. Vandenbussche, K. S. Heyndrickx, J. Van Leene, I. Vercauteren, S. Vanderauwera, K. Vandepoele, G. De Jaeger, D. Van Der Straeten, L. De Veylder, ERF115 controls root quiescent center cell division and stem cell replenishment. Science 342, 860–863 (2013). [Abstract] [Full Text]