Interplay between SCARECROW, GA and LIKE HETEROCHROMATIN PROTEIN 1 in ground tissue patterning in the Arabidopsis root

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Regulated cell division is critical for the development of multi-cellular organisms. In the Arabidopsis root, SCARECROW (SCR) is required for the first cell division, but represses the subsequent, longitudinal asymmetric cell divisions that generate the two cell types of the ground tissue – cortex and endodermis. To elucidate the molecular basis of the role of SCR in ground tissue patterning, we screened for SCR-interacting proteins using the yeast two-hybrid method. A number of putative SCR-interacting proteins were identified, among them LIKE HETEROCHROMATIN PROTEIN 1 (LHP1). Inlhp1mutants, a second longitudinal asymmetric cell division occurs in the ground tissue earlier than in wild-type plants. Similar to thescrmutant, this premature middle cortex phenotype is suppressed by the phytohormone gibberellin (GA). We provide evidence that the N-terminal domain of SCR is required for the interaction between SCR and LHP1 as well as with other interacting partners, and that this domain is essential for repression of asymmetric cell divisions. Consistent with a role for GA in cortex proliferation, mutants of key GA signaling components produce a middle cortex precociously. Intriguingly, we found that thespindly(spy) mutant has a similar middle cortex phenotype. As SPY homologs in animals physically interact with histone deacetylase, we examined the role of histone deacetylation in middle cortex formation. We show that inhibition of histone deacetylase activity causes premature middle cortex formation in wild-type roots. Together, these results suggest that epigenetic regulation is probably the common basis for SCR and GA activity in cortex cell proliferation.

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