Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
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Stem Cell Biology

Dr. Zhong Zhao

Dr. Zhong Zhao
zhong.zhao AET

Current Research


Stem cell fate in the shoot apical meristem (SAM) of Arabidopsis thaliana is controlled by a complex regulatory network of signaling molecules and transcription factors. A negative feed-back loop involving the peptide ligand CLAVATA3 (CLV3) secreted from the stem cells of the central zone (CZ) and the homeodomain transcription factor WUSCHEL (WUS) expressed in the organizing center (OC) is required to define the limits of stem cell number and is tightly integrated with more widely active phytohormone signaling systems.

I am interested in the cross-talk of different plant hormones and how they control plant stem cell niche. Our recent data show that cytokinin and auxin directly converge their activity on the promoters of ARR7 and ARR15, which are two negative regulators of cytokinin signaling and have important meristematic functions. ARR7 and ARR15 expression in the SAM is induced by cytokinin, auxin has a direct negative effect, which is mediated by the AUXIN RESPONSE FACTOR5 (ARF5)/MONOPTEROS transcription factor. Our works provide a mechanistic framework of how hormonal control the plant stem cell niche.

mp-gfp.jpg Figure: MP-GFP distribution in shoot apical meristem. Green molecule indicates auxin, red indicates cytokinin.


/var/www/cos/ / Dr. Zhong Zhao _e