Researchers Discover Novel Switch in Plants Controlling Division and Differentiation
Scientists from VIB and Ghent University led by Prof. Dr. Jenny Russinova
uncovered a novel mechanism in plants that controls an important decision
step in stomatal lineage to divide asymmetrically or to differentiate.
It has been known that a GSK3-like kinase simultaneously promotes and
inhibits stomatal formation, but it wasn't clear how this exists in the same
stomatal lineage cell. Using protein interactomics approaches established at
the VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology and at the Wageningen
University, the researchers identified a plant- and stomatal
lineage-specific scaffolding protein, POLAR, that can regulate the
subcellular locations of the GSK3-like kinase.
The group found that when POLAR and GSK3-like kinases are co-expressed, the
kinase is targeted to the plasma membrane and polarized at one side of the
stomatal precursor cell, leading to asymmetric cell division. On the other
hand, when POLAR is absent, the kinase is located in the nucleus to promote