Despite their pivotal role in plant development, control mechanisms for oriented cell divisions have remained elusive. Here, we describe how a precisely regulated cell division orientation switch in an Arabidopsis stem cell is controlled by upstream patterning factors. We show that the stem cell regulatory PLETHORA transcription factors induce division plane reorientation by local activation of auxin signaling, culminating in enhanced expression of the microtubule-associated MAP65 proteins. MAP65 upregulation is sufficient to reorient the cortical microtubular array through a CLASP microtubule-cell cortex interaction mediator-dependent mechanism. CLASP differentially localizes to cell faces in a microtubule- and MAP65-dependent manner. Computational simulations clarify how precise 90° switches in cell division planes can follow self-organizing properties of the microtubule array in combination with biases in CLASP localization. Our work demonstrates how transcription factor-mediated processes regulate the cellular machinery to control orientation of formative cell divisions in plants.
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