It is well known that abscisic acid (ABA) can halt meristems for long periods without loss of meristem function, and can also promote root growth at low concentrations, but the mechanisms underlying such regulation are largely unknown. Here we show that ABA promotes stem cell maintenance in Arabidopsis root meristems by both promoting the quiescence of the quiescent centre (QC) and suppressing the differentiation of stem cells and their daughters. We demonstrate that these two mechanisms of regulation by ABA involve distinct pathways, and identify components in each pathway. Our findings demonstrate a cellular mechanism for a positive role for ABA in promoting root meristem maintenance and root growth in Arabidopsis.
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