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Curr Biol. 2008 Dec 23;18(24):1949-54. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2008.10.064.

A feedback mechanism controlling SCRAMBLED receptor accumulation and cell-type pattern in Arabidopsis.

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Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.


Cellular pattern formation in the root epidermis of Arabidopsis occurs in a position-dependent manner, generating root-hair (H) cells contacting two underlying cortical cells and nonhair (N) cells contacting one cortical cell. SCRAMBLED (SCM), a leucine-rich repeat receptor-like kinase (LRR-RLK), mediates this process through its effect on a downstream transcription factor regulatory network. After perception of a positional cue, the SCM signaling pathway is proposed to preferentially repress WEREWOLF (WER) transcription factor expression in H cells and thereby bias the outcome of mutual lateral inhibition acting between H and N cells. However, the molecular mechanism responsible for this preferential SCM signaling is unknown. Here, we analyze the distribution of the SCM receptor and the biological effect of altering its accumulation pattern. We find that SCM expression and accumulation in the epidermal cell layer is necessary and sufficient to direct the cell-type pattern. Further, SCM preferentially accumulates in H cells, and this accumulation pattern is dependent on the downstream transcription factors. Thus, SCM participates in an autoregulatory feedback loop, enabling cells engaged in SCM signaling to maintain high levels of SCM receptor, which provides a simple mechanism for reinforcing a bias in receptor-mediated signaling to ensure robust pattern formation.

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