Institut für Genetik, Heinrich-Heine Universität Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany
Stem cells are required to support the indeterminate growth style of plants. Meristems are a plant´s stem cell niches that foster stem cell survival and the production of descendants destined for differentiation. In shoot meristems, stem cell fate is decided at the populational level. The size of the stem cell domain at the meristem tip depends on signals that are exchanged with cells of the organizing centre underneath. In root meristems, individual stem cells are controlled by direct interaction with cells of the quiescent centre that lie in the immediate neighbourhood. Analysis of the interactions and signaling processes in the stem cell niches has delivered some insights into the molecules that are involved and revealed that the two major niches for plant stem cells are more similar than anticipated.