Plant stem cell niches

Annu Rev Plant Biol. 2012;63:615-36. doi: 10.1146/annurev-arplant-042811-105555. Epub 2012 Feb 9.


Multicellular organisms possess pluripotent stem cells to form new organs, replenish the daily loss of cells, or regenerate organs after injury. Stem cells are maintained in specific environments, the stem cell niches, that provide signals to block differentiation. In plants, stem cell niches are situated in the shoot, root, and vascular meristems-self-perpetuating units of organ formation. Plants' lifelong activity-which, as in the case of trees, can extend over more than a thousand years-requires that a robust regulatory network keep the balance between pluripotent stem cells and differentiating descendants. In this review, we focus on current models in plant stem cell research elaborated during the past two decades, mainly in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. We address the roles of mobile signals on transcriptional modules involved in balancing cell fates. In addition, we discuss shared features of and differences between the distinct stem cell niches of Arabidopsis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arabidopsis / cytology*
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • Cell Communication
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Genes, Plant / physiology
  • Meristem / cytology
  • Meristem / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Plant Roots / cytology*
  • Plant Roots / metabolism*
  • Plant Stems / cytology
  • Plant Stems / metabolism
  • Plant Vascular Bundle / cytology*
  • Plant Vascular Bundle / physiology*
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Regeneration
  • Signal Transduction
  • Stem Cell Niche / physiology*
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Arabidopsis Proteins