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J Exp Bot. 2007;58(13):3485-501. Epub 2007 Sep 26.

From primary to secondary growth: origin and development of the vascular system.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Biotechnologie Végétale, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), rue Adrienne Bolland 8, B-6041 Gosselies, Belgium. mbaucher@ulb.ac.be


Vascular tissue differentiation is essential to enable plant growth and follows well-structured and complex developmental patterns. Based on recent data obtained from Arabidopsis and Populus, advances in the understanding of the molecular basis of vascular system development are reviewed. As identified by forward and/or reverse genetics, several gene families have been shown to be involved in the proliferation and identity of vascular tissues and in vascular bundle patterning. Although the functioning of primary meristems, for example the shoot apical meristem (SAM), is well documented in the literature, the genetic network that regulates (pro)cambium is still largely not deciphered. However, recent genome-wide expression analyses have identified candidate genes for secondary vascular tissue development. Of particular interest, several genes known to regulate the SAM have also been found to be expressed in the vascular cambium, highlighting possible overlapping regulatory mechanisms between these two meristems.

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