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Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2008 Feb;11(1):28-33. Epub 2007 Dec 3.

Talk global, act local-patterning the Arabidopsis embryo.

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Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, 1 Bungtown Road, Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724, United States.


The primary axis and main tissue types of Arabidopsis are laid down in the early embryo. Apical-to-basal auxin flux functions as a global organizer of the axis, and recent reports are clarifying our mechanistic understanding of how a graded auxin distribution is generated and interpreted. Polar targeting of PIN transporters in the cells of the embryo is dynamic and linked to their phosphorylation status, suggesting a flexible mechanism for regulating auxin flux in space and time. PLETHORA transcription factors then interpret the graded auxin distribution to provide positional values along the axis in a dose-dependent manner. A comparable framework for tissue patterning in the radial dimension is still lacking, although cell surface signaling probably plays a key role.

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