A recent publication by Schellmann . (2002) in The EMBO Journal has provided important insights into the control of cell fate and pattern formation in plants. To study the underlying molecular mechanisms, the authors made use of the development of root hairs and trichomes in Arabidopsis thaliana . A. thaliana trichomes are large, unicellular structures that project out from the shoot epidermal surface and are thought to form a defence against herbivorous insects. Root hairs are specialized cells extending from the root epidermis and are important for water and mineral uptake. The positional cues that regulate the spacing of trichomes and root hairs are unique. In the root, positional information is derived from the location of the epidermal cells relative to underlying cortex cells ( Fig. 1A ). Epidermal cells that are located over a junction between two cortex cells become root hairs (H cells), whereas the other epidermal cells become non‐root‐hair cells (N cells). On the leaves, the trichome spacing pattern is determined largely by the position of the first trichome ( Fig. 1B ). After the leaf primordium reaches a length of ∼100 μm, a single epidermal cell at the leaf tip becomes a trichome. Thereafter,
The EMBO Reports – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2003
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