The PLETHORA genes mediate patterning of the Arabidopsis root stem cell niche

Mitsuhiro Aida, Dimitris Beis, Renze Heidstra, Viola Willemsen, Ikram Blilou, Carla Galinha, Laurent Nussaume, Yoo Sun Noh, Richard Amasino, Ben Scheres*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

899 Scopus citations


A small organizing center, the quiescent center (QC), maintains stem cells in the Arabidopsis root and defines the stem cell niche. The phytohormone auxin influences the position of this niche by an unknown mechanism. Here, we identify the PLETHORA1 (PLT1) and PLT2 genes encoding AP2 class putative transcription factors, which are essential for QC specification and stem cell activity. The PLT genes are transcribed in response to auxin accumulation and are dependent on auxin response transcription factors. Distal PLT transcript accumulation creates an overlap with the radial expression domains of SHORT-ROOT and SCARECROW, providing positional information for the stem cell niche. Furthermore, the PLT genes are activated in the basal embryo region that gives rise to hypocotyl, root, and root stem cells and, when ectopically expressed, transform apical regions to these identities. Thus, the PLT genes are key effectors for establishment of the stem cell niche during embryonic pattern formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-120
Number of pages12
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1 2004
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory for providing the GT7616 line, Institute of Molecular Agrobiology for the SGT4287 line, P. Benfey, T. Berleth, P. Doerner, H. Fukaki, and S. Sabatini for mutant or transgenic plants, D. Weijers and R. Offringa for the RPS5A promoter sequence, P. Brouwer, R. Leito, M. Terlou, and W. Veenendaal for technical assistance, F. Kindt for artwork, B. Krizek for communicating unpublished results, M. Tasaka for enabling M.A. to accomplish part of this work in his laboratory, and K. Boot, H. Fukaki, M. Tasaka, P. Weisbeek, and D. Welch for helpful comments on the manuscript. M.A. was supported by a JSPS Postdoctral Fellowship for Research Abroad 2001 and a Grant for Japan-Europe Scientists Exchange Program 2001 from Novartis Foundation (Japan) for the Promotion of Science. D.B. was supported by a Greek State Scholarship Foundation (IKY) grant. The work of R.A. and Y.-S. N. was supported by the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and the Graduate School of the University of Wisconsin and by grants (0133663 and 0209786) from the National Science Foundation. B.S. was supported by an N.W.O. PIONIER grant.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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