Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The Origin of Stem Cells

08.02.2017

The protein WOX2 is responsible for enabling plants to develop organs throughout their lives

Freiburg plant biologist Prof. Dr. Thomas Laux and his research group have published an article in the journal Developmental Cell presenting initial findings on how shoot stem cells in plants form during embryogenesis, the process of embryonic development. Pluripotent stem cells can develop into any type of cell in an organism.


Arabidopsis

Photo: Thomas Kunz

In contrast to animals, plants can form completely new organs from their stem cells throughout their lives, which in the case of several species of trees may span a thousand years or more. Stem cell research promises to solve key problems in medicine and plant breeding.

However, whereas the function of stem cells for the regeneration of tissue or for growth has been studied in detail, much less is known so far about how stem cells form in the course of embryonic development.

Several years ago, Laux and his team already discovered the transcription factor responsible for the continuous replacement of shoot stem cells in the model plant Arabidopsis, commonly known as thale cress. Called WUSCHEL, this protein is already present in the embryo when the stem cells form.

“Much to our surprise, our PhD student Zhongjuan Zhang made the key observation that it is not WUSCHEL but the related transcription factor WOX2 that is responsible for the development of the stem cells,” says Laux. All that was previously known about the protein WOX2 was that it controls earlier steps in the pattern formation of the embryo, the phase in which the embryo’s cells arrange themselves in a particular structure. Zhang discovered that WOX2 prevents the cells in the region of the embryo in which the stem cells form from differentiating into specialized cell types and thus from losing their unlimited potential for development.

This means that plants follow similar strategies in the process of stem cell development as found in animals. In the case of Arabidopsis, WOX2 regulates the balance between the two plant hormones cytokinin and auxin by allowing relatively large amounts of the former and relatively small amounts of the latter to collect in the progenitor cells of the stem cells. Plant researchers have already been using this mechanism for several decades to regenerate a shoot from a root or a leaf. This method, originally found in tissue cultures, therefore ultimately reflects the same mechanism that evolution already found much earlier to develop stem cells during embryogenesis.

Thomas Laux is head of a laboratory at the Institute of Biology III and a member of the University of Freiburg’s Cluster of Excellence BIOSS Centre for Biological Signalling Studies.

Original publication:
Zhongjuan Zhang, Elise Tucker, Marita Hermann, Thomas Laux (2017): Molecular Framework for the Embryonic Initiation of Shoot Meristem Stem Cells. In: Developmental Cell. doi:org/10.1016/j.devcel.2017.01.002

Article in the research magazine uni’wissen (2012)
www.pr2.uni-freiburg.de/publikationen/uniwissen/uniwissen-2012-2-en/#/32

Contact:
Prof. Dr. Thomas Laux
Institute of Biology III
University of Freiburg
Phone: +49 (0)761/203-2943
E-Mail: laux@biologie.uni-freiburg.de

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.pr.uni-freiburg.de/pm/2017/pm.2017-02-08.17-en?set_language=en

Rudolf-Werner Dreier | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves
17.08.2018 | Leibniz Universität Hannover

nachricht First transcription atlas of all wheat genes expands prospects for research and cultivation
17.08.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>