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Plant Cell. 2009 Apr;21(4):1080-94. doi: 10.1105/tpc.108.063180. Epub 2009 Apr 24.

The MYB23 gene provides a positive feedback loop for cell fate specification in the Arabidopsis root epidermis.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Yonsei University, 134 Sinchon-dong, Seoul 120-749, Korea.


The specification of cell fates during development requires precise regulatory mechanisms to ensure robust cell type patterns. Theoretical models of pattern formation suggest that a combination of negative and positive feedback mechanisms are necessary for efficient specification of distinct fates in a field of differentiating cells. Here, we examine the role of the R2R3-MYB transcription factor gene, AtMYB23 (MYB23), in the establishment of the root epidermal cell type pattern in Arabidopsis thaliana. MYB23 is closely related to, and is positively regulated by, the WEREWOLF (WER) MYB gene during root epidermis development. Furthermore, MYB23 is able to substitute for the function of WER and to induce its own expression when controlled by WER regulatory sequences. We also show that the MYB23 protein binds to its own promoter, suggesting a MYB23 positive feedback loop. The localization of MYB23 transcripts and MYB23-green fluorescent protein (GFP) fusion protein, as well as the effect of a chimeric MYB23-SRDX repressor construct, links MYB23 function to the developing non-hair cell type. Using mutational analyses, we find that MYB23 is necessary for precise establishment of the root epidermal pattern, particularly under conditions that compromise the cell specification process. These results suggest that MYB23 participates in a positive feedback loop to reinforce cell fate decisions and ensure robust establishment of the cell type pattern in the Arabidopsis root epidermis.

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