The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 54: 1389 - 1396 (2010)

Vol 54, Issue 8-9

Expression of DOF genes identifies early stages of vascular development in Arabidopsis leaves

Developmental Expression Pattern | Published: 4 June 2010

Jason Gardiner, Ira Sherr and Enrico Scarpella*

Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada


The sequence of events underlying the formation of vascular networks in the leaf has long fascinated developmental biologists. In Arabidopsis leaves, vascular-precursor procambial cells derive from the elongation of morphologically inconspicuous ground cells that selectively activate expression of the HD-ZIP III gene ATHB8. Inception of ATHB8 expression operationally defines acquisition of a typically irreversible preprocambial cell state that preludes to vein formation. A view of the constellation of genes whose expression is activated at preprocambial stages would therefore be particularly desirable; however, very few preprocambial gene expression profiles have been identified. Here, we show that expression of three genes encoding members of the DOF family of plant-specific transcription factors is activated at stages overlapping onset of ATHB8 expression. Expression of DOF genes is initiated in wide domains that become confined to sites of vein development. Congruence between DOF expression fields and zones of vein formation persists upon experimental manipulation of leaf vascular patterning, suggesting that DOF expression identifies consistently recurring steps in vein ontogeny. Our results contribute to defining preprocambial cell identity at the molecular level.


Arabidopsis thaliana, leaf development, vein patterning, procambium, auxin transport

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