Two-component circuitry in Arabidopsis cytokinin signal transduction

Nature. 2001 Sep 27;413(6854):383-9. doi: 10.1038/35096500.


Cytokinins are essential plant hormones that are involved in shoot meristem and leaf formation, cell division, chloroplast biogenesis and senescence. Although hybrid histidine protein kinases have been implicated in cytokinin perception in Arabidopsis, the action of histidine protein kinase receptors and the downstream signalling pathway has not been elucidated to date. Here we identify a eukaryotic two-component signalling circuit that initiates cytokinin signalling through distinct hybrid histidine protein kinase activities at the plasma membrane. Histidine phosphotransmitters act as signalling shuttles between the cytoplasm and nucleus in a cytokinin-dependent manner. The short signalling circuit reaches the nuclear target genes by enabling nuclear response regulators ARR1, ARR2 and ARR10 as transcription activators. The cytokinin-inducible ARR4, ARR5, ARR6 and ARR7 genes encode transcription repressors that mediate a negative feedback loop in cytokinin signalling. Ectopic expression in transgenic Arabidopsis of ARR2, the rate-limiting factor in the response to cytokinin, is sufficient to mimic cytokinin in promoting shoot meristem proliferation and leaf differentiation, and in delaying leaf senescence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / metabolism*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins*
  • Cell Membrane
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Cytokinins / metabolism*
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genes, Plant
  • Histidine Kinase
  • Molecular Mimicry
  • Plant Growth Regulators / metabolism*
  • Plant Leaves / cytology
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Protoplasts
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • ARR2 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Cytokinins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Plant Growth Regulators
  • Plant Proteins
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Protein Kinases
  • Histidine Kinase
  • CKI1 protein, Arabidopsis