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Open Access Research article

Control of trichome branching by Chromatin Assembly Factor-1

Vivien Exner, Wilhelm Gruissem and Lars Hennig*

Author Affiliations

Institute of Plant Sciences & Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center, ETH Zurich, CH-8092 Zurich, Switzerland

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BMC Plant Biology 2008, 8:54  doi:10.1186/1471-2229-8-54

Published: 13 May 2008



Chromatin dynamics and stability are both required to control normal development of multicellular organisms. Chromatin assembly factor CAF-1 is a histone chaperone that facilitates chromatin formation and the maintenance of specific chromatin states. In plants and animals CAF-1 is essential for normal development, but it is poorly understood which developmental pathways require CAF-1 function.


Mutations in all three CAF-1 subunits affect Arabidopsis trichome morphology and lack of CAF-1 function results in formation of trichomes with supernumerary branches. This phenotype can be partially alleviated by external sucrose. In contrast, other aspects of the CAF-1 mutant phenotype, such as defective meristem function and organ formation, are aggravated by external sucrose. Double mutant analyses revealed epistatic interactions between CAF-1 mutants and stichel, but non-epistatic interactions between CAF-1 mutants and glabra3 and kaktus. In addition, mutations in CAF-1 could partly suppress the strong overbranching and polyploidization phenotype of kaktus mutants.


CAF-1 is required for cell differentiation and regulates trichome development together with STICHEL in an endoreduplication-independent pathway. This function of CAF-1 can be partially substituted by application of exogenous sucrose. Finally, CAF-1 is also needed for the high degree of endoreduplication in kaktus mutants and thus for the realization of kaktus' extreme overbranching phenotype.