Transcription factor networks in the stem cell niche

Five redundant PLETHORA AP2-domain transcription factors play a major role in specifying the stem cell niche, and in controlling the rate of differentiation in the meristem. These proteins are expressed in a gradient with maximal expression in the stem cells, and the levels of PLT activity determine whether cells remain in the stem cell state or differentiate.

We explore (1) how this gradient is formed and maintained as an interplay between auxin accumulation, transcriptional induction, protein stability and protein movement. (2) how the many target genes of these transcription factors orchestrate division and differentiation. (3) how these transcription factors influence and are influenced by chromatin domains and modifications during the progression from stem cell to differentiated cell.