Differential roles of Arabidopsis heterotrimeric G-protein subunits in modulating cell division in roots

Plant Physiol. 2006 Jul;141(3):887-97. doi: 10.1104/pp.106.079202. Epub 2006 May 5.


Signaling through heterotrimeric G proteins is conserved in diverse eukaryotes. Compared to vertebrates, the simpler repertoire of G-protein complex and accessory components in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) offers a unique advantage over all other multicellular, genetic-model systems for dissecting the mechanism of G-protein signal transduction. One of several biological processes that the G-protein complex regulates in Arabidopsis is cell division. We determined cell production rate in the primary root and the formation of lateral roots in Arabidopsis to define individually the types of modulatory roles of the respective G-protein alpha- and beta-subunits, as well as the heterotrimer in cell division. The growth rate of the root is in part a consequence of cell cycle maintenance in the root apical meristem (RAM), while lateral root production requires meristem formation by founder pericycle cells. Thus, a comparison of these two parameters in various genetic backgrounds enabled dissection of the role of the G-protein subunits in modulation of cell division, both in maintenance and initiation. Cell production rates were determined for the RAM and lateral root formation in gpa1 (Arabidopsis G-protein alpha-subunit) and agb1 (Arabidopsis G-protein beta-subunit) single and double mutants, and in transgenic lines overexpressing GPA1 or AGB1 in agb1 or gpa1 mutant backgrounds, respectively. We found in the RAM that the heterotrimeric complex acts as an attenuator of cell proliferation, whereas the GTP-bound form of the Galpha-subunit's role is a positive modulator. In contrast, for the formation of lateral roots, the Gbetagamma-dimer acts largely independently of the Galpha-subunit to attenuate cell division. These results suggest that Arabidopsis heterotrimeric G-protein subunits have differential and opposing roles in the modulation of cell division in roots.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development*
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / physiology*
  • Cell Division / physiology*
  • Epistasis, Genetic
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits / genetics
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits / metabolism
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits / physiology*
  • GTP-Binding Protein beta Subunits / genetics
  • GTP-Binding Protein beta Subunits / metabolism
  • GTP-Binding Protein beta Subunits / physiology*
  • Gene Expression
  • Heterotrimeric GTP-Binding Proteins / physiology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Plant Roots / growth & development*
  • Plant Roots / metabolism
  • RGS Proteins / physiology


  • AGB1 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • GPA1 protein, Arabidopsis
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits
  • GTP-Binding Protein beta Subunits
  • RGS Proteins
  • RGS1 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Heterotrimeric GTP-Binding Proteins

Associated data

  • RefSeq/NC_003071
  • RefSeq/NC_003074
  • RefSeq/NC_003075