Multifaceted Cellular Reprogramming at the Crossroads Between Plant Development and Biotic Interactions.

17 Apr 2018

One of the striking features of multicellular plants is their developmental plasticity in response to environmental change. For example, flowering plants can transform the vegetative meristem into a reproductive meristem for bearing seeds in a timely manner. This event is controlled by multiple environmental conditions (Cho et al. 2017). Another example is the root system architecture, where lateral root meristems develop from pericycle cells, enabling the formation of sophisticated root systems for foraging nutrients and water (Shahzad and Amtmann 2017). Thus intrinsic programs, which are otherwise cryptic, are involved in directing this mode of development in response to environmental stimuli that act as cues. This process is largely achieved through the division and differentiation of stem cells, which are limited in population. Intriguingly, however, there are phenomena that convert the fates of already differentiated cells; de-differentiation through cellular reprogramming, which, regardless of subcellular, transcriptional or epigenetic modification, appears pivotal for this transition. The plasticity of plants is not fully understood at present, but probably resides in the developmentally versatile potential of plant cells. In this special issue, we focus our attention on two aspects of cellular reprogramming: plant interactions with other organisms, and plant regeneration.