An Overview of the Gene Regulatory Network Controlling Trichome Development in the Model Plant, Arabidopsis

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Trichomes are specialized epidermal cells located on aerial parts of plants and are associated with a wide array of biological processes. Trichomes protect plants from adverse conditions including UV light and herbivore attack and are also an important source of a number of phytochemicals. The simple unicellular trichomes of Arabidopsis serve as an excellent model to study molecular mechanism of cell differentiation and pattern formation in plants. The emerging picture suggests that the developmental process is controlled by a transcriptional network involving three major groups of transcription factors (TFs): the R2R3 MYB, basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH), and WD40 repeat (WDR) protein. These regulatory proteins form a trimeric activator complex that positively regulates trichome development. The single repeat R3 MYBs act as negative regulators of trichome development. They compete with the R2R3 MYBs to bind the bHLH factor and form a repressor complex. In addition to activator-repressor mechanism, a depletion mechanism may operate in parallel during trichome development. In this mechanism, the bHLH factor traps the WDR protein which results in depletion of WDR protein in neighboring cells. Consequently, the cells with high levels of bHLH and WDR proteins are developed into trichomes. A group of C2H2 zinc finger TFs has also been implicated in trichome development. Phytohormones, including gibberellins and jasmonic acid, play significant roles in this developmental process. Recently, microRNAs have been shown to be involved in trichome development. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that the activities of the key regulatory proteins involved in trichome development are controlled by the 26S/ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS), highlighting the complexity of the regulatory network controlling this developmental process. To complement several excellent recent relevant reviews, this review focuses on the transcriptional network and hormonal interplay controlling trichome development in Arabidopsis.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)259
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Issue numberJUN
StatePublished - Jun 5 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Pattanaik, Patra, Singh and Yuan.


  • Gene regulation
  • MicroRNA
  • Trichome
  • Ubiquitin/26S proteasome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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