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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2005 Aug;15(4):388-94.

Signals that regulate stem cell activity during plant development.

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DCMB group, Department of Biology, Duke University, Box 91000, Research Drive, Durham, NC 27708, USA.


Plant stem cells are used continuously to generate new structures during the entire life-span of the organism. In the adult plant, stem cells are found in specialized structures called meristems. The meristems contain the stem cell niche together with rapidly dividing daughter cells that will ultimately differentiate into specific cell types. Some of the master genes that orchestrate the establishment and maintenance of the stem cell niche have now been identified in both the root and the shoot. Recent results show that these genes also determine the fate of the stem cells and that feedback signals from differentiated cells are involved in stem cell specification. These advances have provided a framework to understand how short-range and long-range signals are integrated to specify and position the stem cell niche in the meristems, and how the differentiation potential of plant stem cells is controlled.

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