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Cell. 1998 Dec 11;95(6):805-15.

Role of WUSCHEL in regulating stem cell fate in the Arabidopsis shoot meristem.

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Lehrstuhl für Entwicklungsgenetik, Universität Tübingen, Federal Republic of Germany.


The shoot meristem gives rise to the aerial parts of higher plants by continuously initiating new organs. The basis of this activity is its ability to maintain a pool of pluripotent stem cells, which are the ultimate source of all tissues of the shoot. In Arabidopsis plants mutant for the WUSCHEL (WUS) gene, the stem cells are misspecified and appear to undergo differentiation. Here, we show that WUS encodes a novel homeodomain protein which presumably acts as a transcriptional regulator. The pattern of WUS expression suggests that stem cells in the shoot meristem are specified by an underlying cell group which is established in the 16-cell embryo and becomes localized to its prospective domain of function by asymmetric cell divisions.

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