Nav: Home

From the somatic cell to the germ cell

June 08, 2017

An international scientific consortium including the Freiburg plant biologist Prof. Dr. Thomas Laux has discovered a regulatory pathway that turns plants' ordinary somatic cells into germ cells for sexual reproduction. The researchers recently published their findings in the scientific journal Science.

In contrast to humans and animals, plants do not set aside a specialized cell lineage (germline) for the future production of gametes during early embryogenesis. Instead, the germ cells of plants are established de novo from somatic cells in the floral reproductive organs, the stamens and carpels. To this end, the selected cells switch their cell division mode from mitosis, cell proliferation maintaining the chromosome number, to meiosis, the division that reduces the number of chromosomes and where genetic recombination occurs. Plants have therefore evolved strategies to enable somatic cells to switch to germline fate and to do so in the right place and at the right time.

Laux and colleagues have identified multiple genes in the model organism Arabidopsis thaliana that give the start signal for switching from mitose to meiose. The starting point for the findings presented in Science are mutants that create multiple germ cells instead of a singular one in each ovule. Key of the newly discovered pathway is the limitation of activity of the transcription factor WUSCHEL, which Laux's team had identified several years ago as an important regulator of pluripotent stem cells that are able to develop into every cell type in the organism. The involvement of WUSCHEL in creating germ cells is a discovery that provides molecular evidence for the longstanding hypothesis derived from paleobotanical studies that the reproductive ovules and the shoot meristem have evolved from the same precursor organ in ancient plants. The newly discovered regulatory mechanism shows how plants are able to limit switching to the germ cell program so that only a single germ cell emerges, while the surrounding cells take on other tasks.

Thomas Laux is professor at the Institute of Biology III and member of the excellence cluster BIOSS Centre for Biological Signalling Studies at the University of Freiburg.
-end-
Original publication:

Xin'Ai Zhao, Jonathan Bramsiepe, Matthias Van Durme, Shinichiro Komaki,Maria Ada Prusicki, Daisuke Maruyama, Joachim Forner, Anna Medzihradszky,Erik Wijnker, Hirofumi Harashima, You Lu, Anja Schmidt, Daniela Guthörl,Rosa Sahún Logroño, Yonsheng Guan, Gaetan Pochon, Ueli Grossniklaus, Thomas Laux,Tetsuya Higashiyama, Jan U. Lohmann, Moritz K. Nowack, Arp Schnittger (2017): RETINOBLASTOMA RELATED1mediates germline entryin Arabidopsis In: Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf6532

Contact:

Institute of Biology III / BIOSS Centre for Biological Signalling Studies
University of Freiburg

University of Freiburg

Related Pluripotent Stem Cells Articles:

Ultrastructure of focal adhesion scaffold unveiled in human pluripotent stem cells
Focal adhesions are known as signalling platforms broadcasting the information of the biochemical and physical qualities of the extracellular matrix into intracellular signalling cascades.
First generation of induced pluripotent stem cells from domestic cats
Researchers have reported for the first time producing feline induced pluripotent stem cells (fiPSCs) from adult cells of domestic cats.
Simple protocol for assessing maturation of HPCs from induced pluripotent stem cells
Researchers have developed a guide to help labs standardize the production of mature hepatic-like cells (HPCs) from stem cells and easily compare gene expression of HPCs to actual human liver tissue.
Researchers characterize 'mutational burden' of human induced pluripotent stem cells
In a new study, published in this week's issue of Cell Reports, researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine scrutinized the whole genome sequences of 18 induced pluripotent stem cell lines derived from skin cells that they had reprogrammed to identify and characterize somatic mutations.
Researchers develop a new method for turning skin cells into pluripotent stem cells
Researchers at the University of Helsinki, Finland, and Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, have for the first time succeeded in converting human skin cells into pluripotent stem cells by activating the cell's own genes.
In mice, stem cells seem to work in fighting obesity! What about stem cells in humans?
This release aims to summarize the available literature in regard to the effect of Mesenchymal Stem Cells transplantation on obesity and related comorbidities from the animal model.
An index measures similarity between cancer cells and pluripotent stem cells
The new methodology measures tumor aggressiveness and the risk of relapse, helping doctors plan treatment, according to Brazilian scientists authors of a paper published in a special issue of the journal Cell.
Induced pluripotent stem cells could serve as cancer vaccine, Stanford researchers say
Induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells, are a keystone of regenerative medicine.
Reproducing higher-order embryonic kidney structures using pluripotent stem cells
In the embryonic kidney, three types of precursor cells interact with each other to form a three-dimensional structure.
Induced pluripotent stem cells show astrocyte-neuron impact on brain pathology in autism
Using human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to model autism spectrum disorder (ASD), researchers at the University of São Paulo, Brazil and University of California, San Diego have revealed for the first time that abnormalities in the supporting cells of the brain, called astrocytes, may contribute to the cause of the disorder.
More Pluripotent Stem Cells News and Pluripotent Stem Cells Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Accessing Better Health
Essential health care is a right, not a privilege ... or is it? This hour, TED speakers explore how we can give everyone access to a healthier way of life, despite who you are or where you live. Guests include physician Raj Panjabi, former NYC health commissioner Mary Bassett, researcher Michael Hendryx, and neuroscientist Rachel Wurzman.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#544 Prosperity Without Growth
The societies we live in are organised around growth, objects, and driving forward a constantly expanding economy as benchmarks of success and prosperity. But this growing consumption at all costs is at odds with our understanding of what our planet can support. How do we lower the environmental impact of economic activity? How do we redefine success and prosperity separate from GDP, which politicians and governments have focused on for decades? We speak with ecological economist Tim Jackson, Professor of Sustainable Development at the University of Surrey, Director of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Propserity, and author of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

An Announcement from Radiolab