Stem cells: The root of all cells

Inez Terpstra, Renze Heidstra*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The plant basic body plan is laid down during embryogenesis. All post-embryonic development has its origin in the stem cells located in niches in the heart of the shoot and root meristems. Creating the root niche requires auxin dependent patterning cues that provide positional information in combination with parallel inputs to specify and maintain the root stem cell niche from embryogenesis onwards. Once established, the architecture of the root niche differs from that in the shoot but recent findings reveal a conserved module for stem cell control. Important for stem cell maintenance is the balance between cell division and differentiation. Dealing with the environment is the biggest challenge for plants and that includes complete regeneration of stem cell systems upon damage. Here we will address these issues as we follow the formation, function and maintenance of the root stem cell niche during development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1089-1096
Number of pages8
JournalSeminars in Cell and Developmental Biology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Arabidopsis
  • Quiescent center
  • Root meristem
  • Stem cell


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