In plants and animals, small peptide ligands that signal in cell-cell communication have been suggested to be a crucial component of development. A bioassay of single-cell transdifferentation demonstrates that a dodecapeptide with two hydroxyproline residues is the functional product of genes from the CLE family, which includes CLAVATA3 in Arabidapsis. The dodecapeptide suppresses xylem cell development at a concentration of 10-11 M and promotes cell division. An application, corresponding to all 26 Arabidapsis CLE protein family members, of synthetic dodecapeptides reveals two counteracting signaling pathways involved in stem cell fate.
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