Role of WUSCHEL in regulating stem cell fate in the Arabidopsis shoot meristem

Cell. 1998 Dec 11;95(6):805-15. doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(00)81703-1.


The shoot meristem gives rise to the aerial parts of higher plants by continuously initiating new organs. The basis of this activity is its ability to maintain a pool of pluripotent stem cells, which are the ultimate source of all tissues of the shoot. In Arabidopsis plants mutant for the WUSCHEL (WUS) gene, the stem cells are misspecified and appear to undergo differentiation. Here, we show that WUS encodes a novel homeodomain protein which presumably acts as a transcriptional regulator. The pattern of WUS expression suggests that stem cells in the shoot meristem are specified by an underlying cell group which is established in the 16-cell embryo and becomes localized to its prospective domain of function by asymmetric cell divisions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Arabidopsis / cytology*
  • Arabidopsis / embryology
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins*
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA, Plant
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genes, Plant
  • Homeodomain Proteins / classification
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism
  • Homeodomain Proteins / physiology*
  • Meristem / cytology*
  • Meristem / embryology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plant Proteins / classification
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Plant Proteins / physiology*
  • Point Mutation


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • DNA, Plant
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Plant Proteins
  • STM protein, Arabidopsis
  • WUSCHEL protein, Arabidopsis

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AJ012310