WUSCHEL-RELATED HOMEOBOX 13 suppresses de novo shoot regeneration via cell fate control of pluripotent callus

Nao Ogura, Yohei Sasagawa, Tasuku Ito, Toshiaki Tameshige, Satomi Kawai, Masaki Sano, Yuki Doll, Akira Iwase, Ayako Kawamura, Takamasa Suzuki, Itoshi Nikaido, Keiko Sugimoto, Momoko Ikeuchi

Plants can regenerate their bodies via de novo establishment of shoot apical meristems (SAMs) from pluripotent callus. Only a small fraction of callus cells is eventually specified into SAMs but the molecular mechanisms underlying fate specification remain obscure. The expression of WUSCHEL (WUS) is an early hallmark of SAM fate acquisition. Here, we show that a WUS paralog, WUSCHEL-RELATED HOMEOBOX 13 (WOX13), negatively regulates SAM formation from callus in Arabidopsis thaliana . WOX13 promotes non-meristematic cell fate via transcriptional repression of WUS and other SAM regulators and activation of cell wall modifiers. Our Quartz-Seq2–based single cell transcriptome revealed that WOX13 plays key roles in determining cellular identity of callus cell population. We propose that reciprocal inhibition between WUS and WOX13 mediates critical cell fate determination in pluripotent cell population, which has a major impact on regeneration efficiency.