Indexed on: 08 Jul '10Published on: 08 Jul '10Published in: Current Biology
Upon seed germination, apical meristems grow as cell division prevails over differentiation and reach their final size when division and differentiation reach a balance. In the Arabidopsis root meristem, this balance results from the interaction between cytokinin (promoting differentiation) and auxin (promoting division) through a regulatory circuit whereby the ARR1 cytokinin-responsive transcription factor activates the gene SHY2, which negatively regulates the PIN genes encoding auxin transport facilitators. However, it remains unknown how the final meristem size is set, i.e., how a change in the relative rates of cell division and differentiation is brought about to cause meristem growth to stop. Here, we show that during meristem growth, expression of SHY2 is driven by another cytokinin-response factor, ARR12, and that completion of growth is brought about by the upregulation of SHY2 caused by both ARR12 and ARR1: this leads to an increase in cell differentiation rate that balances it with division, thus setting root meristem size. We also show that gibberellins selectively repress expression of ARR1 at early stages of meristem development, and that the DELLA protein REPRESSOR OF GA 1-3 (RGA) mediates this negative control.