Just passing through: The auxin gradient of the root meristem

Bruno Guillotin, Kenneth D. Birnbaum

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The root meristem—one of the plant's centers of continuous growth—is a conveyer belt in which cells of different identities are pushed through gradients along the root's longitudinal axis. An auxin gradient has long been implicated in controlling the progression of cell states in the root meristem. Recent work has shown that a PLETHORA (PLT) protein transcription factor gradient, which is under a delayed auxin response, has a dose-dependent effect on the differentiation state of cells. The direct effect of auxin concentration on differential transcriptional outputs remains unclear. Genomic and other analyses of regulatory sequences show that auxin responses are likely controlled by combinatorial inputs from transcription factors outside the core auxin signaling pathway. The passage through the meristem exposes cells to varying positional signals that could help them interpret auxin inputs independent of gradient effects. One open question is whether cells process information from the changes in the gradient over time as they move through the auxin gradient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGradients and Tissue Patterning
EditorsStephen Small, James Briscoe
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Number of pages22
ISBN (Print)9780128127902
StatePublished - 2020

Publication series

NameCurrent topics in developmental biology
ISSN (Print)0070-2153


  • Auxin gradient
  • Differentiation
  • Meristem
  • Morphogen-like
  • Plant growth
  • Roots
  • Arabidopsis Proteins/genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant/drug effects
  • Indoleacetic Acids/pharmacology
  • Plant Roots/cytology
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Plant Growth Regulators/pharmacology
  • Arabidopsis/cytology
  • Meristem/cytology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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