On the genetic control of planar growth during tissue morphogenesis in plants

Balaji Enugutti, Charlotte Kirchhelle, Kay Schneitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Tissue morphogenesis requires extensive intercellular communication. Plant organs are composites of distinct radial cell layers. A typical layer, such as the epidermis, is propagated by stereotypic anticlinal cell divisions. It is presently unclear what mechanisms coordinate cell divisions relative to the plane of a layer, resulting in planar growth and maintenance of the layer structure. Failure in the regulation of coordinated growth across a tissue may result in spatially restricted abnormal growth and the formation of a tumor-like protrusion. Therefore, one way to approach planar growth control is to look for genetic mutants that exhibit localized tumor-like outgrowths. Interestingly, plants appear to have evolved quite robust genetic mechanisms that govern these aspects of tissue morphogenesis. Here we provide a short summary of the current knowledge about the genetics of tumor formation in plants and relate it to the known control of coordinated cell behavior within a tissue layer. We further portray the integuments of Arabidopsis thaliana as an excellent model system to study the regulation of planar growth. The value of examining this process in integuments was established by the recent identification of the Arabidopsis AGC VIII kinase UNICORN as a novel growth suppressor involved in the regulation of planar growth and the inhibition of localized ectopic growth in integuments and other floral organs. An emerging insight is that misregulation of central determinants of adaxial-abaxial tissue polarity can lead to the formation of spatially restricted multicellular outgrowths in several tissues. Thus, there may exist a link between the mechanisms regulating adaxial-abaxial tissue polarity and planar growth in plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)651-661
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • AGC protein kinase
  • Arabidopsis
  • Cell division
  • Growth regulation
  • Ovule
  • Planar growth
  • Planar polarity
  • Signal transduction
  • Tumor
  • Tumor suppressor


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