Plant GSK3 proteins regulate xylem cell differentiation downstream of TDIF-TDR signalling

Nat Commun. 2014 Mar 24;5:3504. doi: 10.1038/ncomms4504.


During plant radial growth typically seen in trees, procambial and cambial cells act as meristematic cells in the vascular system to self-proliferate and differentiate into xylem cells. These two processes are regulated by a signalling pathway composed of a peptide ligand and its receptor; tracheary element differentiation inhibitory factor (TDIF) and TDIF RECEPTOR (TDR). Here we show that glycogen synthase kinase 3 proteins (GSK3s) are crucial downstream components of the TDIF signalling pathway suppressing xylem differentiation from procambial cells. TDR interacts with GSK3s at the plasma membrane and activates GSK3s in a TDIF-dependent fashion. Consistently, a specific inhibitor of plant GSK3s strongly induces xylem cell differentiation through BRI1-EMS SUPPRESSOR 1 (BES1), a well-known target transcription factor of GSK3s. Our findings provide insight into the regulation of cell fate determination in meristem maintenance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis / physiology*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 / metabolism*
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • Oligopeptides / metabolism*
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • RNA Interference
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Two-Hybrid System Techniques
  • Xylem / cytology*


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • BES1 protein, Arabidopsis
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Oligopeptides
  • tracheary element differentiation inhibitory factor, Arabidopsis
  • Protein Kinases
  • PXY protein, Arabidopsis
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3