Organizer-Derived WOX5 Signal Maintains Root Columella Stem Cells through Chromatin-Mediated Repression of CDF4 Expression.

L. Pi, E. van der Graaff, C.I. Llavata Peris, D. Weijers, L. Henning, E. de Groot, T. Laux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

127 Citations (Scopus)


Stem cells in plants and animals are maintained pluripotent by signals from adjacent niche cells. In plants, WUSCHEL HOMEOBOX (WOX) transcription factors are central regulators of stem cell maintenance in different meristem types, yet their molecular mode of action has remained elusive. Here we show that in the Arabidopsis root meristem, the WOX5 protein moves from the root niche organizer, the quiescent center, into the columella stem cells, where it directly represses the transcription factor gene CDF4. This creates a gradient of CDF4 transcription, which promotes differentiation opposite to the WOX5 gradient, allowing stem cell daughter cells to exit the stem cell state. We further show that WOX5 represses CDF4 transcription by recruiting TPL/TPR co-repressors and the histone deacetylase HDA19, which consequently induces histone deacetylation at the CDF4 regulatory region. Our results show that chromatin-mediated repression of differentiation programs is a common strategy in plant and animal stem cell niches.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)576-588
JournalDevelopmental Cell
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • histone deacetylase
  • arabidopsis-thaliana
  • transcriptional repression
  • gene-expression
  • wuschel
  • meristem
  • shoot
  • topless
  • protein
  • fate

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    SIREN: SIgnals and REgulatory Networks in early plant embryogenesis


    Project: EU research project

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