Research Article

Oscillating Gene Expression Determines Competence for Periodic Arabidopsis Root Branching

Science  10 Sep 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5997, pp. 1306-1311
DOI: 10.1126/science.1191937

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Abstract

Plants and animals produce modular developmental units in a periodic fashion. In plants, lateral roots form as repeating units along the root primary axis; however, the developmental mechanism regulating this process is unknown. We found that cyclic expression pulses of a reporter gene mark the position of future lateral roots by establishing prebranch sites and that prebranch site production and root bending are periodic. Microarray and promoter-luciferase studies revealed two sets of genes oscillating in opposite phases at the root tip. Genetic studies show that some oscillating transcriptional regulators are required for periodicity in one or both developmental processes. This molecular mechanism has characteristics that resemble molecular clock–driven activities in animal species.

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