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Bioessays. 2002 Jan;24(1):27-37.

Coordination of cell proliferation and cell fate decisions in the angiosperm shoot apical meristem.

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USDA Plant Gene Expression Center, UC Berkeley Plant and Microbial Biology Department, 800 Buchanan St., Albany, CA 94710, USA.


A unique feature of flowering plants is their ability to produce organs continuously, for hundreds of years in some species, from actively growing tips called apical meristems. All plants possess at least one form of apical meristem, whose cells are functionally analogous to animal stem cells because they can generate specialized organs and tissues. The shoot apical meristem of angiosperm plants acts as a continuous source of pluripotent stem cells, whose descendents become incorporated into organ primordia and acquire different fates. Recent studies are unveiling some of the molecular pathways that specify stem cell fate in the center of the shoot apical meristem, that confer organ founder cell fate on the periphery, and that connect meristem patterning elements with events at the cellular level. The results are providing important insights into the mechanisms through which shoot apical meristems integrate cell fate decisions with cellular proliferation and global regulation of growth and development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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