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PLoS One. 2010 Feb 12;5(2):e9189. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0009189.

A dynamic model for stem cell homeostasis and patterning in Arabidopsis meristems.

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Department of Medical Genetics, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.


Plants maintain stem cells in their meristems as a source for new undifferentiated cells throughout their life. Meristems are small groups of cells that provide the microenvironment that allows stem cells to prosper. Homeostasis of a stem cell domain within a growing meristem is achieved by signalling between stem cells and surrounding cells. We have here simulated the origin and maintenance of a defined stem cell domain at the tip of Arabidopsis shoot meristems, based on the assumption that meristems are self-organizing systems. The model comprises two coupled feedback regulated genetic systems that control stem cell behaviour. Using a minimal set of spatial parameters, the mathematical model allows to predict the generation, shape and size of the stem cell domain, and the underlying organizing centre. We use the model to explore the parameter space that allows stem cell maintenance, and to simulate the consequences of mutations, gene misexpression and cell ablations.

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