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      The never-ending story: from pluripotency to plant developmental plasticity

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          Plants are sessile organisms, some of which can live for over a thousand years. Unlike most animals, plants employ a post-embryonic mode of development driven by the continuous activity of pluripotent stem cells. Consequently, plants are able to initiate new organs over extended periods of time, and many species can readily replace lost body structures by de novo organogenesis. Classical studies have also shown that plant tissues have a remarkable capacity to undergo de-differentiation and proliferation in vitro, highlighting the fact that plant cell fate is highly plastic. This suggests that the mechanisms regulating fate transitions must be continuously active in most plant cells and that the control of cellular pluripotency lies at the core of diverse developmental programs. Here, we review how pluripotency is established in plant stem cell systems, how it is maintained during development and growth and re-initiated during regeneration, and how these mechanisms eventually contribute to the amazing developmental plasticity of plants.


          Summary: This Review discusses how pluripotency is established in plant stem cell systems, how it is maintained during development and growth, and how it is re-initiated during regeneration.

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          Most cited references 144

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          Induction of pluripotent stem cells from mouse embryonic and adult fibroblast cultures by defined factors.

          Differentiated cells can be reprogrammed to an embryonic-like state by transfer of nuclear contents into oocytes or by fusion with embryonic stem (ES) cells. Little is known about factors that induce this reprogramming. Here, we demonstrate induction of pluripotent stem cells from mouse embryonic or adult fibroblasts by introducing four factors, Oct3/4, Sox2, c-Myc, and Klf4, under ES cell culture conditions. Unexpectedly, Nanog was dispensable. These cells, which we designated iPS (induced pluripotent stem) cells, exhibit the morphology and growth properties of ES cells and express ES cell marker genes. Subcutaneous transplantation of iPS cells into nude mice resulted in tumors containing a variety of tissues from all three germ layers. Following injection into blastocysts, iPS cells contributed to mouse embryonic development. These data demonstrate that pluripotent stem cells can be directly generated from fibroblast cultures by the addition of only a few defined factors.
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            The Polycomb complex PRC2 and its mark in life.

            Polycomb group proteins maintain the gene-expression pattern of different cells that is set during early development by regulating chromatin structure. In mammals, two main Polycomb group complexes exist - Polycomb repressive complex 1 (PRC1) and 2 (PRC2). PRC1 compacts chromatin and catalyses the monoubiquitylation of histone H2A. PRC2 also contributes to chromatin compaction, and catalyses the methylation of histone H3 at lysine 27. PRC2 is involved in various biological processes, including differentiation, maintaining cell identity and proliferation, and stem-cell plasticity. Recent studies of PRC2 have expanded our perspectives on its function and regulation, and uncovered a role for non-coding RNA in the recruitment of PRC2 to target genes.
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              The retinoblastoma protein and cell cycle control


                Author and article information

                Department of Stem Cell Biology, Centre for Organismal Studies, University of Heidelberg , Heidelberg, 69120, Germany
                Author notes
                [* ]Author for correspondence ( jlohmann@ )
                Development (Cambridge, England)
                The Company of Biologists
                1 July 2015
                1 July 2015
                : 142
                : 13
                : 2237-2249
                © 2015. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium provided that the original work is properly attributed.


                Developmental biology

                plant development, stem cells, pluripotency


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