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Plant Physiol. 2018 Jan;176(1):773-789. doi: 10.1104/pp.17.00461. Epub 2017 Nov 13.

Transcription Factors VND1-VND3 Contribute to Cotyledon Xylem Vessel Formation.

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Graduate School of Biological Sciences, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Ikoma, Nara 630-0192, Japan.
Division of Strategic Research and Development, Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Saitama University, Saitama 338-8570, Japan.
Graduate School of Biological Sciences, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Ikoma, Nara 630-0192, Japan
RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science, Yokohama, Kanagawa 230-0045, Japan.


Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) VASCULAR-RELATED NAC-DOMAIN1 (VND1) to VND7 encode a group of NAC domain transcription factors that function as master regulators of xylem vessel element differentiation. These transcription factors activate the transcription of genes required for secondary cell wall formation and programmed cell death, key events in xylem vessel element differentiation. Because constitutive overexpression of VND6 and VND7 induces ectopic xylem vessel element differentiation, functional studies of VND proteins have largely focused on these two proteins. Here, we report the roles of VND1, VND2, and VND3 in xylem vessel formation in cotyledons. Using our newly established in vitro system in which excised Arabidopsis cotyledons are stimulated to undergo xylem cell differentiation by cytokinin, auxin, and brassinosteroid treatment, we found that ectopic xylem vessel element differentiation required VND1, VND2, and VND3 but not VND6 or VND7. The importance of VND1, VND2, and VND3 also was indicated in vivo; in the vnd1 vnd2 vnd3 seedlings, xylem vessel element differentiation of secondary veins in cotyledons was inhibited under dark conditions. Furthermore, the light responsiveness of VND gene expression was disturbed in the vnd1 vnd2 vnd3 mutant, and vnd1 vnd2 vnd3 failed to recover lateral root development in response to the change of light conditions. These findings suggest that VND1 to VND3 have specific molecular functions, possibly linking light conditions to xylem vessel formation, during seedling development.

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