Coordination of biradial-to-radial symmetry and tissue polarity by HD-ZIP II proteins

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Symmetry establishment is a critical process in the development of multicellular organs and requires careful coordination of polarity axes while cells actively divide within tissues. Formation of the apical style in the Arabidopsis gynoecium involves a bilateral-to-radial symmetry transition, a stepwise process underpinned by the dynamic distribution of the plant morphogen auxin. Here we show that SPATULA (SPT) and the HECATE (HEC) bHLH proteins mediate the final step in the style radialisation process by synergistically controlling expression of adaxial-identity genes, HOMEOBOX ARABIDOPSIS THALIANA 3 (HAT3) and ARABIDOPSIS THALIANA HOMEOBOX 4 (ATHB4). HAT3/ATHB4 module drives radialisation of the apical style by promoting basal-to-apical auxin flow and via a negative feedback mechanism that finetune auxin distribution through repression of SPT expression and cytokinin sensitivity. Thus, this work reveals the molecular basis of axes-coordination and hormonal cross-talk during the sequential steps of symmetry transition in the Arabidopsis style.