A WOX/Auxin Biosynthesis Module Controls Growth to Shape Leaf Form
CURRENT BIOLOGY 2020, 30 (24)4857-
Zhang ZJ, Runions A, Mentink RA, Kierzkowski D, Karady, M, Hashemi B, Huijser P, Strauss S, Gan XC, Ljung K

A key challenge in biology is to understand how the regional control of cell growth gives rise to final organ forms. Plant leaves must coordinate growth along both the proximodistal and mediolateral axes to produce their final shape. However, the cell-level mechanisms controlling this coordination remain largely unclear. Here, we show that, in A. thaliana, WOX5, one of the WUSCHEL-RELATED HOMEOBOX (WOX) family of homeobox genes, acts redundantly with WOX1 and WOX3 (PRESSED FLOWER [PRS]) to control leaf shape. Through genetics and hormone measurements, we find that these WOXs act in part through the regional control of YUCCA (YUC) auxin biosynthetic gene expression along the leaf margin. The requirement for WOXmediated YUC expression in patterning of leaf shape cannot be bypassed by the epidermal expression of YUC, indicating that the precise domain of auxin biosynthesis is important for leaf form. Using time-lapse growth analysis, we demonstrate that WOX-mediated auxin biosynthesis organizes a proximodistal growth gradient that promotes lateral growth and consequently the characteristic ellipsoid A. thaliana leaf shape. We also provide evidence that WOX proteins shape the proximodistal gradient of differentiation by inhibiting differentiation proximally in the leaf blade and promoting it distally. This regulation allows sustained growth of the blade and enables a leaf to attain its final form. In conclusion, we show that the WOX/auxin regulatory module shapes leaf form by coordinating growth along the proximodistal and mediolateral leaf axes.

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