Key divisions in the early Arabidopsis embryo require POL and PLL1 phosphatases to establish the root stem cell organizer and vascular axis

Dev Cell. 2008 Jul;15(1):98-109. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2008.05.008.


Arabidopsis development proceeds from three stem cell populations located at the shoot, flower, and root meristems. The relationship between the highly related shoot and flower stem cells and the very divergent root stem cells has been unclear. We show that the related phosphatases POL and PLL1 are required for all three stem cell populations. pol pll1 mutant embryos lack key asymmetric divisions that give rise to the root stem cell organizer and the central vascular axis. Instead, these cells divide in a superficially symmetric fashion in pol pll1 embryos, leading to a loss of embryonic and postembryonic root stem cells and vascular specification. We present data that show that POL/PLL1 drive root stem cell specification by promoting expression of the WUS homolog WOX5. We propose that POL and PLL1 are required for the proper divisions of shoot, flower, and root stem cell organizers, WUS/WOX5 gene expression, and stem cell maintenance.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / embryology*
  • Arabidopsis / enzymology*
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genes, Plant
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism
  • Meristem / cytology
  • Meristem / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Mutation
  • Phosphoprotein Phosphatases / genetics
  • Phosphoprotein Phosphatases / metabolism*
  • Phosphoprotein Phosphatases / physiology*
  • Plant Roots / cytology*
  • Plant Roots / metabolism
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Stem Cells / metabolism


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • WUSCHEL protein, Arabidopsis
  • Phosphoprotein Phosphatases