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PLoS Genet. 2009 Jan;5(1):e1000328. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1000328. Epub 2009 Jan 9.

Arabidopsis CULLIN3 genes regulate primary root growth and patterning by ethylene-dependent and -independent mechanisms.

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ZMBP-Developmental Genetics, Universität Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.


CULLIN3 (CUL3) together with BTB-domain proteins form a class of Cullin-RING ubiquitin ligases (called CRL3s) that control the rapid and selective degradation of important regulatory proteins in all eukaryotes. Here, we report that in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, CUL3 regulates plant growth and development, not only during embryogenesis but also at post-embryonic stages. First, we show that CUL3 modulates the emission of ethylene, a gaseous plant hormone that is an important growth regulator. A CUL3 hypomorphic mutant accumulates ACS5, the rate-limiting enzyme in ethylene biosynthesis and as a consequence exhibits a constitutive ethylene response. Second, we provide evidence that CUL3 regulates primary root growth by a novel ethylene-dependant pathway. In particular, we show that CUL3 knockdown inhibits primary root growth by reducing root meristem size and cell number. This phenotype is suppressed by ethylene-insensitive or resistant mutations. Finally, we identify a function of CUL3 in distal root patterning, by a mechanism that is independent of ethylene. Thus, our work highlights that CUL3 is essential for the normal division and organisation of the root stem cell niche and columella root cap cells.

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