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Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2003 Feb;6(1):74-8.

Cell-fate specification in the epidermis: a common patterning mechanism in the root and shoot.

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Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, 830 North University Avenue, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 48109, USA.


The specification of epidermal hairs in Arabidopsis provides a useful model for the study of pattern formation in plants. Although the distributions of hair cells in the root and shoot appear quite different, recent studies show that pattern formation in each relies on a common cassette of transcriptional regulators. During development in each organ, neighboring cells compete to express regulators that specify the primary cell fate (including WEREWOLF [WER]/GLABRA1 [GL1], GL3/bHLH, TRANSPARENT TESTA GLABRA [TTG], and GL2), as well as those that prevent their neighbors from adopting this fate (including CAPRICE [CPC] and TRIPTYCHON [TRY]). The basic mechanism of lateral inhibition with feedback that has been uncovered by recent studies provides a conceptual framework for understanding how patterns of cell fate in general may be specified during plant development.

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