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A molecular hub controlling root stem cell homeostasis

The root system is a crucial component of higher plants, providing access to water and nutrients while anchoring the plant in the soil. In the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, the root is formed by a group of pluripotent cells, which rarely divide and form the quiescent center (QC). The QC plays a vital role in maintaining the surrounding stem cells non-cell autonomously and serves as a long-term reservoir for new cells. However, the stem cell pool needs to be replenished by coordinated QC cell divisions due to the loss of stem cells from differentiation or stress.

The balance between quiescence and stem cell replenishment is strictly regulated by several signaling pathways, including phytohormones, peptides, receptors, and transcription factors. Although many of the factors involved are well understood, the mutual regulation and interplay of these signaling pathways remain unclear. This project aims to link different regulatory pathways in the root meristem that can potentially connect hormonal, developmental, and stress-induced signals in the stem cell niche of Arabidopsis.

To achieve this, the project will use a heterologous expression system, Nicotiana benthamiana, as well as transgenic Arabidopsis lines. Traditional genetic methods and advanced microscopy techniques, such as FRET-FLIM and fluorescence anisotropy, will be combined to shed light on the unknown connections within the regulatory network controlling root stem cell maintenance in Arabidopsis.

  • Vivien Strotmann | Building 26.14 Floor 00 Room 069 | +49 211 81-12991| 

The goal of this project is to understand the regulation of stem cell replenishment in plant root development. This involves studying the interactions between phytohormones, key transcriptional regulators, and their role in maintaining the balance between stem cell maintenance and differentiation. The research uses mutant analysis and advanced imaging techniques (Förster Resonance Energy Transfer Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscopy and fluorescence anisotropy).