Rocks in the auxin stream: Wound-induced auxin accumulation and ERF115 expression synergistically drive stem cell regeneration

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020 Jul 14;117(28):16667-16677. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2006620117. Epub 2020 Jun 29.


Plants are known for their outstanding capacity to recover from various wounds and injuries. However, it remains largely unknown how plants sense diverse forms of injury and canalize existing developmental processes into the execution of a correct regenerative response. Auxin, a cardinal plant hormone with morphogen-like properties, has been previously implicated in the recovery from diverse types of wounding and organ loss. Here, through a combination of cellular imaging and in silico modeling, we demonstrate that vascular stem cell death obstructs the polar auxin flux, much alike rocks in a stream, and causes it to accumulate in the endodermis. This in turn grants the endodermal cells the capacity to undergo periclinal cell division to repopulate the vascular stem cell pool. Replenishment of the vasculature by the endodermis depends on the transcription factor ERF115, a wound-inducible regulator of stem cell division. Although not the primary inducer, auxin is required to maintain ERF115 expression. Conversely, ERF115 sensitizes cells to auxin by activating ARF5/MONOPTEROS, an auxin-responsive transcription factor involved in the global auxin response, tissue patterning, and organ formation. Together, the wound-induced auxin accumulation and ERF115 expression grant the endodermal cells stem cell activity. Our work provides a mechanistic model for wound-induced stem cell regeneration in which ERF115 acts as a wound-inducible stem cell organizer that interprets wound-induced auxin maxima.

Keywords: Arabidopsis; ERF115; auxin; regeneration; stem cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / physiology*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism*
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Self Renewal
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Indoleacetic Acids / metabolism*
  • Plant Epidermis / cytology
  • Plant Epidermis / metabolism
  • Plant Growth Regulators / metabolism
  • Regeneration*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • ERF115 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Indoleacetic Acids
  • Plant Growth Regulators
  • Transcription Factors