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"Epigenetic control of plant cell reprogramming"

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Friday 04 March 2016, 16:00 - 17:30


Plant somatic cells are generally acknowledged to possess totipotency, the potential to develop into any cell type in an organism. This remarkable developmental plasticity of plant cells was already documented in a pioneering study in 1950s that demonstrated the regeneration of whole plant bodies from fully differentiated somatic cells in vitro1. Plant cells exert this potential only when they encounter severe environmental damages and intact plants hardly develop callus, unorganised cell mass, or somatic embryos under favourable conditions. Plant cells may possess a mechanism to prevent unscheduled dedifferentiation but little is known on this control2. We have previously shown that a group of AP2/ERF transcription factors named WOUND INDUCED DEDIFFERENTIATION1-4 (WIND1-4) promotes wound-induced cell dedifferentiation in Arabidopsis3. All of the WIND genes are strongly activated by wounding and overexpression of each of WIND genes is sufficient to produce callus in wild-type plants. We have recently uncovered that some of the WIND genes need to be epigenetically silenced by POLYCOMB REPRESSIVE COMPLEX 2 (PRC2) to maintain the differentiated status of plant cells4,5. In this talk I will discuss how mature plant cells repress dedifferentiation and how environmental stress may override the developmental regulatory networks to trigger cellular reprogramming.        


  1. Steward et al. (1958) Am. J. Bot. 45, 705–708
  2. Ikeuchi et al. (2013) Plant Celll 25, 4159-3173
  3. Iwase et al. (2011) Curr. Biol. 21, 508–514
  4. Ikeuchi and Iwase et al. (2015) Nature Plants 1, 15089
  5. Ikeuchi et al. (2015) Curr. Opin. Plant Biol. 28, 60-67



Location Jozef Schell seminar room
Contact Prof Keiko Sugimoto