The development of a multicellular embryo from a single zygote is a complex and highly organized process that is far from understood. In higher plants, apical–basal patterning mechanisms are crucial to correctly specify root and shoot stem cell niches that will sustain and drive post-embryonic plant growth and development. The auxin-responsive AtWRKY23 transcription factor is expressed from early embryogenesis onwards and the timing and localization of its expression overlaps with the root stem cell niche. Knocking down WRKY23 transcript levels or expression of a dominant-negative WRKY23 version via a translational fusion with the SRDX repressor domain affected both apical–basal axis formation as well as installation of the root stem cell niche. WRKY23 expression is affected by two well-known root stem cell specification mechanisms, that is, SHORTROOT and MONOPTEROS–BODENLOS signalling and can partially rescue the root-forming inability of mp embryos. On the basis of these results, we postulate that a tightly controlled WRKY23 expression is involved in the regulation of both auxin-dependent and auxin-independent signalling pathways towards stem cell specification.
- stem-cell niche
- transcription factor
- root development
Grunewald, W., De Smet, I., De Rybel, B., Robert, H. S., van de Cotte, B., Willemsen, V. A., ... Beeckman, T. (2013). Tightly controlled WRKY23 expression mediates Arabidopsis embryo development. Embo Reports, 14, 1136-1142. https://doi.org/10.1038/embor.2013.169