Li H. et al.
Root growth is modulated by environmental factors and depends on cell production in the root meristem (RM). New cells in the meristem are generated by stem cells and transit-amplifying cells, which together determine RM cell number. Transcription factors and chromatin-remodeling factors have been implicated in regulating the switch from stem cells to transit-amplifying cells. Here, we show that two Arabidopsis thaliana paralogs encoding plant-specific histone deacetylases, HDT1 and HDT2, regulate a second switch from transit-amplifying cells to expanding cells. Knockdown of HDT1/2 (hdt1,2i) results in an earlier switch and causes a reduced RM cell number. Our data show that HDT1/2 negatively regulate the acetylation level of the C19-GIBBERELLIN 2-OXIDASE2 (GA2ox2) locus and repress the expression of GA2ox2 in the RM and elongation zone. Overexpression of GA2ox2 in the RM phenocopies the hdt1,2i phenotype. Conversely, knockout of GA2ox2 partially rescues the root growth defect of hdt1,2i These results suggest that by repressing the expression of GA2ox2, HDT1/2 likely fine-tune gibberellin metabolism and they are crucial for regulating the switch from cell division to expansion to determine RM cell number. We propose that HDT1/2 function as part of a mechanism that modulates root growth in response to environmental factors.