Asymmetric cell division in land plants and algae: the driving force for differentiation

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2011 Mar;12(3):177-88. doi: 10.1038/nrm3064.


Asymmetric cell division generates two cells with different fates and has an important role in plant development. It produces distinct cell types and new organs, and maintains stem cell niches. To handle the constraints of having immobile cells, plants possess numerous unique features to obtain asymmetry, such as specific regulators of intrinsic polarity. Although several components have not yet been identified, new findings, together with knowledge from different developmental systems, now allow us to take an important step towards a mechanistic overview of asymmetric cell division in plants and algae. Strikingly, several key regulators are used for different developmental processes, and common mechanisms can be recognized.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / cytology
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Polarity
  • Fucus / cytology
  • Models, Biological
  • Plant Cells*
  • Plant Development
  • Plants / genetics
  • Stramenopiles / cytology*