The epidermis coordinates thermoresponsive growth through the phyB-PIF4-auxin pathway

Sara Kim, Geonhee Hwang, Soohwan Kim, Thom Nguyen Thi, Hanim Kim, Jinkil Jeong, Jaewook Kim, Jungmook Kim, Giltsu Choi, Eunkyoo Oh

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71 Citations (Scopus)


In plants, an elevation in ambient temperature induces adaptive morphological changes including elongated hypocotyls, which is predominantly regulated by a bHLH transcription factor, PIF4. Although PIF4 is expressed in all aerial tissues including the epidermis, mesophyll, and vascular bundle, its tissue-specific functions in thermomorphogenesis are not known. Here, we show that epidermis-specific expression of PIF4 induces constitutive long hypocotyls, while vasculature-specific expression of PIF4 has no effect on hypocotyl growth. RNA-Seq and qRT-PCR analyses reveal that auxin-responsive genes and growth-related genes are highly activated by epidermal, but not by vascular, PIF4. Additionally, inactivation of epidermal PIF4 or auxin signaling, and overexpression of epidermal phyB suppresses thermoresponsive growth, indicating that epidermal PIF4-auxin pathways are essential for the temperature responses. Further, we show that high temperatures increase both epidermal PIF4 transcription and the epidermal PIF4 DNA-binding ability. Taken together, our study demonstrates that the epidermis regulates thermoresponsive growth through the phyB-PIF4-auxin pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1053
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Dec 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Motomu Endo for providing CER6p::CCA1, SUC2p::CCA1, CAB3p::CCA1 and PIF4p::GUS seeds and sharing the protocol for the isolation of epidermal cells. This work was supported by grants from the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korean government (MSIP; Number 2019R1A2C1003783 and 2018R1A3B1052617), the Basic Research Laboratory program of the National Research Foundation funded by the Korean government (grant no. 2017R1A4A1015620), the Next-Generation BioGreen 21 Program (PJ01314801), RDA, Republic of Korea, and a Korea University Grant.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology


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