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Plant Physiol. 2009 Jul;150(3):1459-73. doi: 10.1104/pp.109.140905. Epub 2009 May 15.

Cis-element- and transcriptome-based screening of root hair-specific genes and their functional characterization in Arabidopsis.

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School of Biological Sciences, College of Natural Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, Korea.


Understanding the cellular differentiation of multicellular organisms requires the characterization of genes whose expression is modulated in a cell type-specific manner. The Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) root hair cell is one model for studying cellular differentiation. In this study, root hair cell-specific genes were screened by a series of in silico and experimental filtration procedures. This process included genome-wide screening for genes with a root hair-specific cis-element in their promoters, filtering root-specific genes from the root hair-specific cis-element-containing genes, further filtering of genes that were suppressed in root hair-defective plant lines, and experimental confirmation by promoter assay. These procedures revealed 19 root hair-specific genes, including many protein kinases and cell wall-related genes, most of which have not been characterized thus far. Functional analyses of these root hair-specific genes with loss-of-function mutants and overexpressing transformants revealed that they play roles in hair growth and morphogenesis. This study demonstrates that a defined cis-element can serve as a filter to screen certain cell type-specific genes and implicates many new root hair-specific genes in root hair development.

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