To maintain their ability to continuously develop new organs, Arabidopsis thaliana relies on a pool of stem cells within the centre of the shoot apical meristem (SAM), which provides new cells for organ initiation in the meristem periphery. The stem cell pool is regulated by two negative feedback loops that involve the stem cell promoting, homeodomain transcription factor WUSCHEL (WUS). Stem cells secrete the signaling peptide CLAVATA3 (CLV3) which represses WUS activity, while the related peptide CLE40 is secreted from the periphery to promote WUS expression.
Using a combination of promotor studies, in vivo live imaging and quantitative RNA visualization techniques, I will focus on the spatiotemporal dynamics of these regulatory circuitries and identify key regulators of CLE40 and CLV3 expression. This research will help us to gain a deeper understanding of stem cell regulation in plants, and the factors controlling plasticity of SAM growth as well as development in Arabidopsis.