Editors' ChoicePlant biology

How to Plumb the Root Is the Problem

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Sci. Signal.  12 Aug 2014:
Vol. 7, Issue 338, pp. ec214
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2005778

The vascular system of the plant root is generated from four seemingly similar cells. At some point, though, these cells’ descendants need to follow different fates. Combining computational modeling with manipulation of hormone signaling in Arabidopsis, De Rybel et al. discovered the importance of a small bridge connecting two of the four cells (see the Perspective by Mellor and Bishopp). This feature locked in asymmetry in hormone signaling, so that those cells closest to the xylem delivered the maximal response. Two feedback loops in the model function distinctly, with one generating a domain rich in auxin and the other establishing a sharp boundary between domains.

B. De Rybel, M. Adibi, A. S. Breda, J. R. Wendrich, M. E. Smit, O. Novák, N. Yamaguchi, S. Yoshida, G. Van Isterdael, J. Palovaara, B. Nijsse, M. V. Boekschoten, G. Hooiveld, T. Beeckman, D. Wagner, K. Ljung, C. Fleck, D. Weijers, Integration of growth and patterning during vascular tissue formation in Arabidopsis. Science 345, 1255215 (2014). [Abstract] [Full Text]

N. Mellor, A. Bishopp, The innermost secrets of root development. Science 345, 622–623 (2014). [Abstract] [Full Text]