Originally Published In
J Exp Bot. 2017 Jan 1;68(3):499-511. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erw439.
Thigmomorphogenesis is a stereotypical developmental alteration in the plant body plan that can be induced by repeatedly touching plant organs. To unravel how plants sense and record multiple touch stimuli we performed a novel forward genetic screen based on the development of a shorter stem in response to repetitive touch. The touch insensitive (ths1) mutant identified in this screen is defective in some aspects of shoot and root thigmomorphogenesis. The ths1 mutant is an intermediate loss-of-function allele of VERNALIZATION INDEPENDENCE 3 (VIP3), a previously characterized gene whose product is part of the RNA polymerase II-associated factor 1 (Paf1) complex. The Paf1 complex is found in yeast, plants and animals, and has been implicated in histone modification and RNA processing. Several components of the Paf1 complex are required for reduced stem height in response to touch and normal root slanting and coiling responses. Global levels of histone H3K36 trimethylation are reduced in VIP3 mutants. In addition, THS1/VIP3 is required for wild type histone H3K36 trimethylation at the TOUCH3 (TCH3) and TOUCH4 (TCH4) loci and for rapid touch-induced upregulation of TCH3 and TCH4 transcripts. Thus, an evolutionarily conserved chromatin-modifying complex is required for both short- and long-term responses to mechanical stimulation, providing insight into how plants record mechanical signals for thigmomorphogenesis.
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Jensen, Gregory S.; Fal, Kateryna; Hamant, Olivier; and Haswell, Elizabeth S., "The RNA Polymerase-Associated Factor 1 Complex Is Required for Plant Touch Responses" (2017). Biology Faculty Publications & Presentations. 130.