This Nature Letter focuses on the early development and cell fate in roots of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. The separation of cortex and endodermis in the roots is mediated by three co-expressed and interacting transcription factors, named HORT-ROOT (SHR), SCARECROW (SCR) and JACKDAW (JKD). It has been challenging to get insights how these proteins interact because it was difficult to directly visualize transcription factor complexes. Researchers from Düsseldorf (CEPLAS member Rüdiger Simon among others), Wageningen, Amsterdam and Madrid were now able to improve the analysis of protein-protein interactions of those transcription factors: They optimized in vivo FRET–FLIM (Förster resonance energy transfer measured by fluorescence lifetime microscopy) at physiological conditions in living Arabidopsis roots. The optimized method enabled them to show how cell-type-specific interaction is established and that cell fate regulators can form higher order complexes.
Furthermore their results indicate that conformational changes of those transcription factor complexes differentially control target genes and thereby specify distinct cell fates.
Full article: https://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v548/n7665/full/nature23317.html
Profile of CEPLAS PI Rüdiger Simon