Nature communications

ROW1 maintains quiescent centre identity by confining WOX5 expression to specific cells.

PMID 25631790


The quiescent centre (QC) in the Arabidopsis root apical meristem is essential for stem cell organization. Here we show that the loss of REPRESSOR OF WUSCHEL1 (ROW1), a PHD domain-containing protein, leads to QC failure, defects in cell differentiation and ectopic expression of WUSCHEL-RELATED HOMEOBOX 5 (WOX5) in cells that normally express ROW1. The wox5-1/row1-3 double mutants show similar phenotypes to wox5-1 indicating that WOX5 is epistatic to ROW1. ROW1 specifically binds trimethylated histone H3 lysine 4 (H3K4me3) in the WOX5 promoter region to repress its transcription. QC expression of ROW1 results in a wox5-1-like phenotype with undetectable WOX5 transcripts. We propose that ROW1 is essential for QC maintenance and for stem cell niche development through the repression of WOX5 in the proximal meristem.