Plant roots can regenerate after excision of their tip, including the stem cell niche. To determine which developmental program mediates such repair, we applied a combination of lineage tracing, single-cell RNA sequencing, and marker analysis to test different models of tissue reassembly. We show that multiple cell types can reconstitute stem cells, demonstrating the latent potential of untreated plant cells. The transcriptome of regenerating cells prior to stem cell activation resembles that of an embryonic root progenitor. Regeneration defects are more severe in embryonic than in adult root mutants. Furthermore, the signaling domains of the hormones auxin and cytokinin mirror their embryonic dynamics and manipulation of both hormones alters the position of new tissues and stem cell niche markers. Our findings suggest that plant root regeneration follows, on a larger scale, the developmental stages of embryonic patterning and is guided by spatial information provided by complementary hormone domains.
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© 2016 Elsevier Inc.