The Arabidopsis thaliana elongator complex subunit 2 epigenetically affects root development

J Exp Bot. 2015 Aug;66(15):4631-42. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erv230. Epub 2015 May 21.


The elongator complex subunit 2 (ELP2) protein, one subunit of an evolutionarily conserved histone acetyltransferase complex, has been shown to participate in leaf patterning, plant immune and abiotic stress responses in Arabidopsis thaliana. Here, its role in root development was explored. Compared to the wild type, the elp2 mutant exhibited an accelerated differentiation of its root stem cells and cell division was more active in its quiescent centre (QC). The key transcription factors responsible for maintaining root stem cell and QC identity, such as AP2 transcription factors PLT1 (PLETHORA1) and PLT2 (PLETHORA2), GRAS transcription factors such as SCR (SCARECROW) and SHR (SHORT ROOT) and WUSCHEL-RELATED HOMEOBOX5 transcription factor WOX5, were all strongly down-regulated in the mutant. On the other hand, expression of the G2/M transition activator CYCB1 was substantially induced in elp2. The auxin efflux transporters PIN1 and PIN2 showed decreased protein levels and PIN1 also displayed mild polarity alterations in elp2, which resulted in a reduced auxin content in the root tip. Either the acetylation or methylation level of each of these genes differed between the mutant and the wild type, suggesting that the ELP2 regulation of root development involves the epigenetic modification of a range of transcription factors and other developmental regulators.

Keywords: Auxin ELP2; epigenetics; root..

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant*
  • Histone Acetyltransferases / genetics*
  • Histone Acetyltransferases / metabolism
  • Mutation
  • Plant Roots / genetics
  • Plant Roots / growth & development*
  • Plant Roots / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • ELP2 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Histone Acetyltransferases