Wound-healing tool of plant cells
If plants are injured, cells
adjacent to the wound fill the gaps with their daughter cells. However, which
cells divide to do the healing and how they manage to produce cells that match
the cell type of the missing tissue has been unclear. Scientists from the Institute
of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have now shown that to
correctly replace dead cells, neighbours to the inside of the wound re-activate
their stem cell programmes.
While animals rely on specialized migrating cells for wound healing, plants, whose cells are immobile, had to evolve other mechanisms. Researchers have found out that injured or destroyed root cells are not simply replaced by a proliferation of healthy cells from the same cell type above and below the wound. Instead, specifically the cells adjacent to the inner side of the injury reactivate their stem cell programmes to produce de novo cells of the correct type to replace missing neighbours. The researchers termed this newly discovered process ‘restorative patterning’, involving ‘restorative cell division’.