Journal of experimental botany

Brassinazole resistant 1 (BZR1)-dependent brassinosteroid signalling pathway leads to ectopic activation of quiescent cell division and suppresses columella stem cell differentiation.

PMID 26136267


Previous publications have shown that BRI1 EMS suppressor 1 (BES1), a positive regulator of the brassinosteroid (BR) signalling pathway, enhances cell divisions in the quiescent centre (QC) and stimulates columella stem cell differentiation. Here, it is demonstrated that BZR1, a BES1 homologue, also promotes cell divisions in the QC, but it suppresses columella stem cell differentiation, opposite to the action of BES1. In addition, BR and its BZR1-mediated signalling pathway are shown to alter the expression/subcellular distribution of pin-formed (PINs), which may result in changes in auxin movement. BR promotes intense nuclear accumulation of BZR1 in the root tip area, and the binding of BZR1 to the promoters of several root development-regulating genes, modulating their expression in the root stem cell niche area. These BZR1-mediated signalling cascades may account for both the ectopic activation of QC cell divisions as well as the suppression of the columella stem cell differentiation. They could also inhibit auxin-dependent distal stem cell differentiation by antagonizing the auxin/WOX5-dependent pathway. In conclusion, BZR1-/BES1-mediated BR signalling pathways show differential effects on the maintenance of root apical meristem activities: they stimulate ectopic QC division while they show opposite effects on the differentiation of distal columella stem cells in a BR concentration- and BZR1-/BES1-dependent manner.