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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Developmental regulation and significance of KNOX protein trafficking in Arabidopsis.

Intercellular communication delivers critical information for position-dependent specification of cell fate. In plants, a novel mechanism for cell-to-cell communication involves the intercellular trafficking of regulatory proteins and mRNAs. The maize KNOTTED1 (KN1) gene acts non cell-autonomously in the maize leaf, and KN1 was the first plant protein shown to traffic cell-to-cell, presumably through plasmodesmata. We have compared the intercellular trafficking of green fluorescent protein (GFP) fusions of KN1 and Arabidopsis KN1-related homeobox proteins to that of the viral movement protein from turnip vein clearing tobamovirus. We show that there is specific developmental regulation of GFP approximately KN1 trafficking. GFP -- KN1 was able to traffic from the inner layers of the leaf to the epidermis, but not in the opposite direction, from epidermis to mesophyll. However, GFP or the GFP -- movement protein fusion moved readily out of the epidermis. GFP -- KN1 was however able to traffic out of the epidermal (L1) layer in the shoot apical meristem, indicating that KN1 movement out of the L1 was developmentally regulated. GFP -- KNAT1/BREVIPEDICELLUS and GFP -- SHOOTMERISTEMLESS fusions could also traffic from the L1 to the L2/L3 layers of the meristem. In a test for the functional significance of trafficking, we showed that L1-specific expression of KN1 or of KNAT1 was able to partially complement the strong shootmeristemless-11 (stm-11) mutant. However, a cell-autonomous GUS fusion to KN1 showed neither trafficking ability nor complementation of stm-11 when expressed in the L1. These results suggest that the activity of KN1 and related homeobox proteins is maintained following intercellular trafficking, and that trafficking may be required for their normal developmental function.[1]


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