Root stem cell niche networks : It's complexed! Insights from Arabidopsis

Pardal, Renan; Heidstra, Renze


The presence of two meristematic cell populations in the root and shoot apex allows plants to grow indefinitely. Due to its simple and predictable tissue organization, the Arabidopsis root apical meristem remains an ideal model to study mechanisms such as stem cell specification, asymmetric cell division, and differentiation in plants. The root stem cell niche consists of a quiescent organizing centre surrounded by mitotically active stem cells, which originate all root tissues. The transcription factors PLETHORA, SCARECROW, and WOX5 form signalling hubs that integrate multiple inputs from an increasing number of proteins implicated in the regulation of stem cell niche function. Recently, locally produced auxin was added to the list of important mobile factors in the stem cell niche. In addition, protein-protein interaction data elegantly demonstrate how parallel pathways can meet in a common objective. Here we discuss how multiple networks converge to specify and maintain the root stem cell niche.