Since its discovery by F.A.L Clowes, extensive research has been dedicated to identifying the functions of the quiescent center (QC). One of the earliest hypotheses was that it serves a key role in regeneration of the root meristem. Recent works provided support for this hypothesis and began to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying this phenomenon. There are two scenarios to consider when assessing the role of the QC in regeneration: one, when the damage leaves the QC intact; and the other, when the QC itself is destroyed. In the first scenario, multiple factors are recruited to activate QC cell division in order to replace damaged cells, but whether the QC has a role in the second scenario is less clear. Both using gene expression studies and following the cell division pattern have shown that the QC is assembled gradually, only to appear as a coherent identity late in regeneration. Similar late emergence of the QC was observed during the de novo formation of the lateral root meristem. These observations can lead to the conclusion that the QC has no role in regeneration. However, activities normally occurring in QC cells, such as local auxin biosynthesis, are still found during regeneration but occur in different cells in the regenerating meristem. Thus, we explore an alternative hypothesis, that following destruction of the QC, QC-related gene activity is temporarily distributed to other cells in the regenerating meristem, and only coalesce into a distinct cell identity when regeneration is complete.
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© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Experimental Biology. All rights reserved.
- DNA damage
- positional information
- root meristem
- stem cells