q&more
My watch list
my.chemie.de  
Login  

News

Bifacial Stem Cells Produce Wood and Bast

One of the most important growth processes on Earth studied

Dongbo Shi

Picture of two cell clones (in green), each of which originated from a single cambium stem cell and contributed to both the xylem and the phloem

24-Jan-2019: So-called bifacial stem cells are responsible for one of the most critical growth processes on Earth – the formation of wood. By alternately developing into wood and bast cells, these stem cells are thus starting points for forming wood as well as generating plant bast fibres. A team of researchers under the direction of Dr Thomas Greb, a Heisenberg Professor at Heidelberg University, were recently able to demonstrate this phenomenon using new experimental tools. The scientists from the Centre for Organismal Studies labelled and studied specific types of cells in the growth layer of plants, the cambium.

Life on Earth is fed by energy from the sun. Plants are the primary and most important recipients of this energy, converting it into sugars and biomass that are then utilised by animal organisms and humans alike. The process by which most of the biomass is stored long-term is wood formation. Wood is produced from a thin layer of stem cells called the cambium, which is located directly under the bark of shoots and roots. It produces both wood and plant bast, which is often used in the fibre industry. “Although it has an essential role in the Earth’s materials cycle and supplies important materials for our daily lives, how the cambium functions is largely unknown,” states Prof. Greb, who heads the “Developmental Physiology” research group at the Centre for Organismal Studies.

By labelling different cell types inside the cambium, the Heidelberg researcher and his team identified the cells that are the source of both tissues – the wood (xylem) and the bast (phloem). These bifacial stem cells produce cells bidirectionally, with wood cells growing inward and bast cells outward. To label the stem cells, the team used fluorescent proteins that helped identify the activity of specific genes. Using a molecular “trick”, the researchers were able to firmly anchor the labels in the cells and all their descendants, enabling the team to track and reconstruct cell development over a longer period of time.

By improving their understanding of how these cells work, the researchers hope next to be able to model plant growth and uncover the regulatory mechanisms of cell properties.

Original publication:
D. Shi, I. Lebovka, V. López-Salmerón, P. Sanchez, T. Greb; "Bifacial cambium stem cells generate xylem and phloem during radial plant growth"; Development; 2019

Facts, background information, dossiers

  • stem cells
  • wood
  • cells
  • sugars
  • plants
  • physiology
  • genes
  • fluorescent proteins
  • fibres
  • biomass
  • bifacial stem cells

More about Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

  • News

    Mapping the Energetic Landscape of Solar Cells

    A new spectroscopic method now makes it possible to measure and visualise the energetic landscape inside solar cells based on organic materials. It was developed by a research team led by Prof. Dr Yana Vaynzof, a physicist at Heidelberg University. This novel visualisation technique enables ... more

    New Measurement Device: Carbon Dioxide As Geothermometer

    For the first time it is possible to measure, simultaneously and with extreme precision, four rare molecular variants of carbon dioxide (CO2) using a novel laser instrument. It is thus able to measure the temperature during the formation of CO2-binding carbonates and carbonaceous fossils co ... more

    Precise, Highly Efficient Gene Repair

    The molecular tool CRISPR/Cas allows introducing DNA double strand breaks into any gene of interest consequently resulting in stochastic mutations at the site of the target gene. However, precise gene repair through the application of a rescue construct suffers from limited efficiency. Rese ... more

q&more – the networking platform for quality excellence in lab and process

The q&more concept is to increase the visibility of recent research and innovative solutions, and support the exchange of knowledge. In the broad spectrum of subjects covered, the focus is on achieving maximum quality in highly innovative sectors. As a modern knowledge platform, q&more offers market participants one-of-a-kind networking opportunities. Cutting-edge research is presented by authors of international repute. Attractively presented in a high-quality context, and published in German and English, the original articles introduce new concepts and highlight unconventional solution strategies.

> more about q&more

q&more is supported by:

 

Your browser is not current. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 does not support some functions on Chemie.DE