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J Exp Bot. 2012 Feb;63(3):1405-12. doi: 10.1093/jxb/err378. Epub 2011 Nov 22.

DVL genes play a role in the coordination of socket cell recruitment and differentiation.

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Univ Santiago de Compostela, Departamento de Fisiología Vegetal, Rúa Lope Gómez de Marzoa, s/n. Campus sur, 15782 Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Spain.


Specialized plant cells arise from undifferentiated cells through a series of developmental steps. The decision to enter into a certain differentiation pathway depends in many cases on signals from neighbouring cells. The ability of cells to engage in short-range intercellular communication permits the coordination of cell actions necessary in many developmental processes. Overexpression of genes from the DEVIL/ROTUNDIFOLIA (DVL/ROT) family results in severe developmental alterations, but very little is known about their mechanism of action. This work presents evidence that suggests a role for these genes in local signalling, specifically in the coordination of socket cell recruitment and differentiation. Overexpression of different DVL genes results in protuberances at the base of the trichomes surrounded by several rows of elongated epidermal cells, morphologically similar to socket cells. Localized overexpression of DVL4 in trichomes and socket cells during early developmental stages activates expression of socket cell markers in additional cells, farther away from the trichome. The same phenomenon is observed in an activation tagged line of DVL1, which also shows an increase in the number of socket cells in contact with the trichome. The roles of individual DVL genes have been difficult to discover since their overexpression phenotypes are quite similar. In gl1 leaves that lack trichomes and socket cells DVL1 expression shows a 69% reduction, suggesting that this gene could be involved in the coordination of socket cell development in wild-type plants.

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