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Dev Cell. 2011 Oct 18;21(4):770-82. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2011.09.009.

Cell identity regulators link development and stress responses in the Arabidopsis root.

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Department of Biology and Institute for Genome Science and Policy Center for Systems Biology, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA.


Stress responses in plants are tightly coordinated with developmental processes, but interaction of these pathways is poorly understood. We used genome-wide assays at high spatiotemporal resolution to understand the processes that link development and stress in the Arabidopsis root. Our meta-analysis finds little evidence for a universal stress response. However, common stress responses appear to exist with many showing cell type specificity. Common stress responses may be mediated by cell identity regulators because mutations in these genes resulted in altered responses to stress. Evidence for a direct role for cell identity regulators came from genome-wide binding profiling of the key regulator SCARECROW, which showed binding to regulatory regions of stress-responsive genes. Coexpression in response to stress was used to identify genes involved in specific developmental processes. These results reveal surprising linkages between stress and development at cellular resolution, and show the power of multiple genome-wide data sets to elucidate biological processes.

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