28th May 2014

It’s all stem cells and circadian clocks in this week’s Arabidopsis Research Round-up, with a couple of new papers from The Sainsbury Laboratory at Cambridge and the University of York.


  • Wang Y, Wang J, Shi B, Yu T, Qi J, Meyerowitz EM and Jiao Y. The stem cell niche in leaf axils in established by auxin and cytokinin in Arabidopsis. The Plant Cell, 29 April 2014. DOI: 10.1105/tpc.114.123083.

Elliot Meyerowitz from The Sainsbury Laboratory at the University of Cambridge worked with Chinese colleagues on this Plant Cell paper to describe how axillary meristems are initiated in Arabidopsis thaliana. Using reporter gene expression analysis, they discovered that axillary meristems initiate from leaf axils that not only have low auxin, but which have demonstrated auxin efflux. After auxin levels have been lowered in the axil, a cyctokinin signaling pulse is subsequently observed, which also seems to be required for initiation of the meristem growth.


  • Anwer MU, Boikoglou E, Herrero E, Hallstein M, Davis AM, Velikkakam James G, Nagy F and Davis SJ. Natural variation reveals that intracellular distribution of ELF3 protein is associated with function in the circadian clock. eLife, 27 May 2014. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.02206. [Open Access]

Seth Davis from the University of York took the lead on this eLife paper, working with colleagues from Germany, Hungary, and with Eva Herrero, a stem cell biologist from the MRC National Institute for Medical Research. In their study of natural variation in genes associated with the circadian clock in Arabidopsis, the group identified EARLY FLOWERING3 (ELF3) as a major QTL for variation in clock speed. Thought to have originated from Central Asia, ELF3 plays a vital role in defining its light repressor action in the circadian clock, and its functional abilities depend on cellular location.