Bifacial stem cell niches in fish and plants

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2017 Aug;45:28-33. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2017.02.002. Epub 2017 Feb 24.


Embryonic development is key for determining the architecture and shape of multicellular bodies. However, most cells are produced postembryonically in, at least partly, differentiated organs. In this regard, organismal growth faces common challenges in coordinating expansion and function of body structures. Here we compare two examples for postembryonic growth processes from two different kingdoms of life to reveal common regulatory principles: lateral growth of plants and the enlargement of the fish retina. In both cases, growth is based on stem cell systems mediating radial growth by a bifacial mode of tissue production. Surprisingly, although being evolutionary distinct, we find similar patterns in regulatory circuits suggesting the existence of preferable solutions to a common developmental problem.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning
  • Cambium / cytology*
  • Cambium / genetics
  • Cambium / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Fish Proteins / metabolism
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism
  • Plant Cells / physiology*
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Retina / cytology
  • Retina / growth & development*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Stem Cell Niche / physiology*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*


  • Fish Proteins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Plant Proteins
  • Transcription Factors