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J Exp Bot. 2017 Jan;68(1):17-26. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erw473.

Evolution of plant conducting cells: perspectives from key regulators of vascular cell differentiation.

Author information

1
Graduate School of Biological Sciences, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Ikoma, Nara, 630-0192 Japan misato@bs.naist.jp demura@bs.naist.jp.
2
RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science, Yokohama, Kanagawa, 230-0045 Japan.
3
Graduate School of Biological Sciences, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Ikoma, Nara, 630-0192 Japan.

Abstract

One crucial problem that plants faced during their evolution, particularly during the transition to growth on land, was how to transport water, nutrients, metabolites, and small signaling molecules within a large, multicellular body. As a solution to this problem, land plants developed specific tissues for conducting molecules, called water-conducting cells (WCCs) and food-conducting cells (FCCs). The well-developed WCCs and FCCs in extant plants are the tracheary elements and sieve elements, respectively, which are found in vascular plants. Recent molecular genetic studies revealed that transcriptional networks regulate the differentiation of tracheary and sieve elements, and that the networks governing WCC differentiation are largely conserved among land plant species. In this review, we discuss the molecular evolution of plant conducting cells. By focusing on the evolution of the key transcription factors that regulate vascular cell differentiation, the NAC transcription factor VASCULAR-RELATED NAC-DOMAIN for WCCs and the MYB-coiled-coil (CC)-type transcription factor ALTERED PHLOEM DEVELOPMENT for sieve elements, we describe how land plants evolved molecular systems to produce the specialized cells that function as WCCs and FCCs.

KEYWORDS:

Evolution; food-conducting cell; phloem; transcription factor; vascular cell; water-conducting cell; xylem.

PMID:
28013230
DOI:
10.1093/jxb/erw473
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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