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Institut Sophia Agrobiotech

UMR INRA - Univ. Nice Sophia Antipolis - Cnrs

The importance of stem cells for tissue recovery following DNA damage

Thursday, March 15 - 14:00 - Sophia Antipolis - Inra PACA - Room A010

Séminaire scientifique
As part of the scientific animation of Institut Sophia Agrobiotech, IPN team invite Lieven De Veylder, Department of Plant Systems Biology, VIB, Gent, Belgium: "The importance of stem cells for tissue recovery following DNA damage"


Similar to mammalian stem cells, plant stem cells divide at a high frequency with the unique characteristic that the original mother cell retains stem cell activity whereas the daughter cell will acquire over time a certain cell type. Remarkably, at the center of the root stem cell niche, a small group of cells can be found that exhibit a division rate being far below that of its surrounding stem cells, being the quiescent center (QC) cells. Their low division rate is likely contribution to their stress resistance, as indicated by the observation that induced cell proliferation renders the QC cells sensitive to e.g. DNA damage. Moreover, whereas QC cells are more resistant to DNA damage, they appear to be engaged into cell division upon perceiving stress. Using a combination of genetics and biochemical purifications we identified a new transcription complex that controls cell division upon loss of stem cells. Remarkably, the co-expression of all complex subunits grants differentiated cells the ability to obtain QC identity, resulting in ectopic de novo establishment of stem cell niches. Reversely, activity of both subunits is required for re-establishment of new stem cell niches upon loss of QC cells by stress.


  • Heyman J., Canher B., Bisht A., Christiaens F. and De Veylder L. (2018). Emerging role of ERF transcription factors in coordinating wound defense responses and repair. J. Cell Sci, 131(2).
  • Heyman J., Cools T., Canher B., Shavialenka S., Traas J., Vercauteren I., Van den Daele H., Persiau G., De Jaeger G., Sugimoto K. and De Veylder L. (2016). The heterodimeric transcription factor complex ERF115-PAT1 grants regeneration competence. Nat. Plants 2, 16165.
  • Heyman J., Cools T., Vandenbussche F., Heyndrickx K.S., Van Leene J., Vercauteren I., Vanderauwera S., Vandepoele K., De Jaeger G., Van Der Straeten D. and De Veylder L. (2013). ERF115 controls root quiescent center cell division and stem cell replenishment. Science 342, 860-863.