Nav: Home

Location is everything for plant cell differentiation

May 09, 2019

Osaka, Japan - While the fate of most human cells is determined by their lineage--for example, renal stem cells go on to form the kidney while cardiac progenitor cells form the heart--plant cells are a little more flexible. Research shows that although they undergo orderly division during growth, the fate of plant cells is often determined by their location in the growing plant rather than how they started out. Intriguingly, this suggests that plant cells recognize where they are and can alter gene activity in response to their location.

To investigate position-dependent gene expression in plants, Hiroyuki Iida, Ayaka Yoshida, and Shinobu Takada from the Department of Biological Sciences at Japan's Osaka University studied the differentiation of shoot epidermal cells in model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Publishing in a recent issue of Development, the researchers showed that in plants, location really is everything.

"Many land plants have a single layer of epidermal cells to protect themselves from dehydration. However, it is not known how only the outermost cells are differentiated into the epidermis," explains lead author Iida. To examine the differentiation process, the researchers focused on a protein called ATML1, which helps determine epidermal cell identity in the shoots of plants.

"We found that although the ATML1 gene was expressed in subepidermal cells, there was a much greater accumulation of ATML1 protein in the outermost cell layer, suggesting that protein accumulation was inhibited in the internal cell layers," says Iida.

By tagging the proteins with a fluorescent dye, the researchers could also examine where ATML1 was located inside the cells. Interestingly, while the fluorescent protein was most frequently found in the nucleus of the outermost cells, nuclear accumulation of ATML1 was less common in the inner cells, meaning that it could not interact with genes necessary for epidermal cell differentiation.

Going one step further, the researchers were even able to show that a section of the ATML1 protein called the ZLZ domain was necessary, but not entirely responsible for, the reduced nuclear accumulation and activity of ATML1 in the inner cells.

"Our study shows that post-transcriptional regulation of ATML1 based on the location of the cells is likely to be responsible for the formation of the single epidermal layer seen in many seed plants," says senior author of the study Dr Shinobu Takada. "These findings provide greater insight into plant morphogenesis and help us to understand the evolutionary processes by which land plants have acquired the epidermis."
-end-
The article, "ATML1 activity is restricted to the outermost cells of the embryo through post-transcriptional repressions," was published in Development at DOI: 10.1242/dev.169300

About Osaka University

Osaka University was founded in 1931 as one of the seven imperial universities of Japan and now has expanded to one of Japan's leading comprehensive universities. The University has now embarked on open research revolution from a position as Japan's most innovative university and among the most innovative institutions in the world according to Reuters 2015 Top 100 Innovative Universities and the Nature Index Innovation 2017. The university's ability to innovate from the stage of fundamental research through the creation of useful technology with economic impact stems from its broad disciplinary spectrum.

Website: https://resou.osaka-u.ac.jp/en/top

Osaka University

Related Protein Articles:

Hi-res view of protein complex shows how it breaks up protein tangles
A new, high-resolution view of the structure of Hsp104 (heat shock protein 104), a natural yeast protein nanomachine with six subunits, may show news ways to dismantle harmful protein clumps in disease.
Breaking the protein-DNA bond
A new Northwestern University study finds that unbound proteins in a cell break up protein-DNA bonds as they compete for the single-binding site.
FASEB Science Research Conference: Protein Kinases and Protein Phosphorylation
This conference focuses on the biology of protein kinases and phosphorylation signaling.
Largest resource of human protein-protein interactions can help interpret genomic data
An international research team has developed the largest database of protein-to-protein interaction networks, a resource that can illuminate how numerous disease-associated genes contribute to disease development and progression.
STAT2: Much more than an antiviral protein
A protein known for guarding against viral infections leads a double life, new research shows, and can interfere with cell growth and the defense against parasites.
More Protein News and Protein Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Teaching For Better Humans
More than test scores or good grades — what do kids need to prepare them for the future? This hour, guest host Manoush Zomorodi and TED speakers explore how to help children grow into better humans, in and out of the classroom. Guests include educators Olympia Della Flora and Liz Kleinrock, psychologist Thomas Curran, and writer Jacqueline Woodson.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#535 Superior
Apologies for the delay getting this week's episode out! A technical glitch slowed us down, but all is once again well. This week, we look at the often troubling intertwining of science and race: its long history, its ability to persist even during periods of disrepute, and the current forms it takes as it resurfaces, leveraging the internet and nationalism to buoy itself. We speak with Angela Saini, independent journalist and author of the new book "Superior: The Return of Race Science", about where race science went and how it's coming back.