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Plant Signal Behav. 2006 Nov;1(6):296-304.

The Root Apex of Arabidopsis thaliana Consists of Four Distinct Zones of Growth Activities: Meristematic Zone, Transition Zone, Fast Elongation Zone and Growth Terminating Zone.

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University of Antwerp; Biology Department; Groenenborgerlaan, Antwerp, Belgium.


In the growing apex of Arabidopsis thaliana primary roots, cells proceed through four distinct phases of cellular activities. These zones and their boundaries can be well defined based on their characteristic cellular activities. The meristematic zone comprises, and is limited to, all cells that undergo mitotic divisions. Detailed in vivo analysis of transgenic lines reveals that, in the Columbia-0 ecotype, the meristem stretches up to 200 microm away from the junction between root and root cap (RCJ). In the transition zone, 200 to about 520 microm away from the RCJ, cells undergo physiological changes as they prepare for their fast elongation. Upon entering the transition zone, they progressively develop a central vacuole, polarize the cytoskeleton and remodel their cell walls. Cells grow slowly during this transition: it takes ten hours to triplicate cell length from 8.5 to about 35 microm in the trichoblast cell files. In the fast elongation zone, which covers the zone from 520 to about 850 microm from the RCJ, cell length quadruplicates to about 140 microm in only two hours. This is accompanied by drastic and specific cell wall alterations. Finally, root hairs fully develop in the growth terminating zone, where root cells undergo a minor elongation to reach their mature lengths.


Arabidopsis; cytoskeleton; development; differentiation zone; elongation zone; growth; growth terminating zone; meristem; root apex; transition zone

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