The receptor-like kinase FERONIA is required for mechanical signal transduction in Arabidopsis seedlings

Han Wei Shih, Nathan D. Miller, Cheng Dai, Edgar P. Spalding, Gabriele B. Monshausen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

211 Scopus citations


Among the myriad cues that constantly inform plant growth and development, mechanical forces are unique in that they are an intrinsic result of cellular turgor pressure and also imposed by the environment [1]. Although the key role of mechanical forces in shaping plant architecture from the cellular level to the level of organ formation is well established [1-4], the components of the early mechanical signal transduction machinery remain to be defined at the molecular level. Here, we show that an Arabidopsis mutant lacking the receptor-like kinase FERONIA (FER) shows severely altered Ca2+ signaling and growth responses to different forms of mechanical perturbation. Ca2+ signals are either abolished or exhibit qualitatively different signatures in feronia (fer) mutants exposed to local touch or bending stimulation. Furthermore, mechanically induced upregulation of known touch-responsive genes is significantly decreased in fer mutants. In addition to these defects in mechanical signaling, fer mutants also exhibit growth phenotypes consistent with impaired mechanical development, including biased root skewing, an inability to penetrate hard agar layers, and abnormal growth responses to impenetrable obstacles. Finally, high-resolution kinematic analysis of root growth revealed that fer mutants show pronounced spatiotemporal fluctuations in root cell expansion profiles with a timescale of minutes. Based on these results, we propose that FER is a key regulator of mechanical Ca 2+ signaling and that FER-dependent mechanical signaling functions to regulate growth in response to external or intrinsic mechanical forces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1887-1892
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 18 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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