Environmental and hormonal control of cambial stem cell dynamics
J Exp Bot. 2017, 68(1):79-87

Bhalerao RP, Fischer U

Perennial trees have the amazing ability to adjust their growth rate to both adverse and favorable seasonally reoccurring environmental conditions over hundreds of years. In trunks and stems, the basis for the tuning of seasonal growth rate is the regulation of cambial stem cell activity. Cambial stem cell quiescence and dormancy protect the tree from potential physiological and genomic damage caused by adverse growing conditions and may permit a long lifespan. Cambial dormancy and longevity are both aspects of a tree's life for which the study of cambial stem cell behavior in the annual model plant Arabidopsis is inadequate. Recent functional analyses of hormone perception and catabolism mutants in Populus indicate that shoot-derived long-range signals, as well as local cues, steer cambial activity. Auxin is central to the regulation of cambial activity and probably also maintenance. Emerging genome editing and phenotyping technologies will enable the identification of down-stream targets of hormonal action and facilitate the genetic dissection of complex traits of cambial biology.

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