The mechanisms of the maintenance of long-term cell proliferation and its cessation in the meristem of the growing root were analyzed. Quiescent center (QC) remains in the meristem for a long time, whereas all other cells leave the meristem after several mitotic cycles. The question arises as to what extent such organization of proliferation corresponds to the concept of stem cells elaborated for animals. The definition of animal stem cells is met by the QC cells rather than by actively dividing cells that boundary it. However, QC is not a self-maintaining population of cells originated during early stages of embryogenesis; it is formed from dividing cells in the main or lateral root. After root decapitation, the QC can arise from the cells that normally would leave the meristem before long. There is a zone of the meristem whose cells are capable of remaining and forming QC after the removal of the apical part of the root. Maintenance of the size of the meristem depends on the interaction between QC, initial cells located at its surface, and the actively dividing cells. Apparently, the life span of cells in the meristem determines the time when the meristematic cell will begin the elongation. The number of cells starting the elongation depends on proliferation rate and on the changes in life span of meristematic cells which determine their initial number. The life span of the cells in the meristem for most actively dividing cells does not depend on the cell divisions, and remains unchanged in the presence of various inhibitors. As a result of inhibited proliferation in the main part of the meristem, cell divisions in the QC are activated and newly formed cells may proceed to rapid divisions. Thus, the size of the meristem is maintained by the operation of several mechanisms, and individual processes may be, on the one hand, relatively independent and, on the other hand, regulated either by feedback or directly. As a result, the root growth becomes resistant to various external events.
Russian Journal of Plant Physiology – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 23, 2004
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