Who begets whom? Plant cell fate determination by asymmetric cell division

Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2008 Feb;11(1):34-41. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2007.11.001. Epub 2007 Dec 26.


Asymmetric cell division generates cell types with different fates. Recent studies have improved our understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in asymmetric cell division in Arabidopsis thaliana. Genetic approaches have identified candidate intrinsic factors and signaling components that mediate extrinsic cues. WOX genes appear to be putative intrinsic determinants acting in early embryonic asymmetric divisions. A non-canonical mechanism involving specific SHORT ROOT (SHR)-SCARECROW (SCR) nuclear complexes is implicated in ground tissue asymmetric divisions. Asymmetric stem cell division requires extrinsic organizer signaling, whereas the involvement of intrinsic stem cell segregants is unknown. Finally, new studies on stomatal development have identified several intrinsic acting factors that specify cell fate and an extrinsic signaling cascade that controls the number and plane of asymmetric divisions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development*
  • Body Patterning / physiology*
  • Cell Division / physiology*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Meristem / physiology*
  • Plant Stomata / growth & development*


  • Homeodomain Proteins