During postembryonic development, all organs of a plant are ultimately derived from a few pluripotent stem cells found in specialized structures called apical meristems. Here we discuss our current knowledge about the regulation of plant stem cells and their environments with main emphasis on the shoot apical meristem of Arabidopsis thaliana. Recent studies suggest that stem cells are localized in specialized niches where signals from surrounding cells maintain their undifferentiated state. In the shoot meristem, initiation of stem cells during embryogenesis, regulation of stem-cell homeostasis and termination of stem-cell maintenance during flower development appear to primarily involve regulation of the stem-cell niche.
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