Heidelberg researchers study one of the most important growth processes on Earth
So-called bifacial stem cells are responsible for one of the most critical growth processes on Earth – the formation of wood.
By alternately developing into wood and bast cells, these stem cells are thus starting points for forming wood as well as generating plant bast fibres.
A team of researchers under the direction of Dr Thomas Greb, a Heisenberg Professor at Heidelberg University, were recently able to demonstrate this phenomenon using new experimental tools.
The scientists from the Centre for Organismal Studies labelled and studied specific types of cells in the growth layer of plants, the cambium.
Life on Earth is fed by energy from the sun. Plants are the primary and most important recipients of this energy, converting it into sugars and biomass that are then utilised by animal organisms and humans alike.
The process by which most of the biomass is stored long-term is wood formation. Wood is produced from a thin layer of stem cells called the cambium, which is located directly under the bark of shoots and roots.
It produces both wood and plant bast, which is often used in the fibre industry. “Although it has an essential role in the Earth’s materials cycle and supplies important materials for our daily lives, how the cambium functions is largely unknown,” states Prof. Greb, who heads the “Developmental Physiology” research group at the Centre for Organismal Studies.
By labelling different cell types inside the cambium, the Heidelberg researcher and his team identified the cells that are the source of both tissues – the wood (xylem) and the bast (phloem). These bifacial stem cells produce cells bidirectionally, with wood cells growing inward and bast cells outward.
To label the stem cells, the team used fluorescent proteins that helped identify the activity of specific genes. Using a molecular “trick”, the researchers were able to firmly anchor the labels in the cells and all their descendants, enabling the team to track and reconstruct cell development over a longer period of time.
By improving their understanding of how these cells work, the researchers hope next to be able to model plant growth and uncover the regulatory mechanisms of cell properties. The results of the research were published in the journal “Development”. The article is associated with an interview with Prof. Greb and Dr Dongbo Shi, the study’s primary author.
Communications and Marketing
Press Office, phone +49 6221 54-2311
Prof. Dr Thomas Greb
Centre for Organismal Studies
Phone +49 6221 54-5524
D. Shi, I. Lebovka, V. López-Salmerón, P. Sanchez, T. Greb: Bifacial cambium stem cells generate xylem and phloem during radial plant growth. Development (2019) 146, dev171355, http://dev.biologists.org/content/146/1/dev171355
Marietta Fuhrmann-Koch | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Monitoring biodiversity with sound: how machines can enrich our knowledge
18.06.2019 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Uncovering hidden protein structures
18.06.2019 | Universität Konstanz
The well-known representation of chemical elements is just one example of how objects can be arranged and classified
The periodic table of elements that most chemistry books depict is only one special case. This tabular overview of the chemical elements, which goes back to...
Light can be used not only to measure materials’ properties, but also to change them. Especially interesting are those cases in which the function of a material can be modified, such as its ability to conduct electricity or to store information in its magnetic state. A team led by Andrea Cavalleri from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg used terahertz frequency light pulses to transform a non-ferroelectric material into a ferroelectric one.
Ferroelectricity is a state in which the constituent lattice “looks” in one specific direction, forming a macroscopic electrical polarisation. The ability to...
Researchers at TU Graz calculate the most accurate gravity field determination of the Earth using 1.16 billion satellite measurements. This yields valuable knowledge for climate research.
The Earth’s gravity fluctuates from place to place. Geodesists use this phenomenon to observe geodynamic and climatological processes. Using...
Discovery by Brazilian and US researchers could change the classification of two species, which appear more akin to jellyfish than was thought.
The tube anemone Isarachnanthus nocturnus is only 15 cm long but has the largest mitochondrial genome of any animal sequenced to date, with 80,923 base pairs....
Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have discovered a completely new way of capturing, amplifying and linking light to matter at the nanolevel. Using a tiny box, built from stacked atomically thin material, they have succeeded in creating a type of feedback loop in which light and matter become one. The discovery, which was recently published in Nature Nanotechnology, opens up new possibilities in the world of nanophotonics.
Photonics is concerned with various means of using light. Fibre-optic communication is an example of photonics, as is the technology behind photodetectors and...
29.04.2019 | Event News
17.04.2019 | Event News
15.04.2019 | Event News
18.06.2019 | Life Sciences
18.06.2019 | Life Sciences
18.06.2019 | Life Sciences