DOI: 10.3390/ijms241713122 ISSN:

A Common Molecular Signature Indicates the Pre-Meristematic State of Plant Calli

Attila Fehér
  • Inorganic Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Spectroscopy
  • Molecular Biology
  • General Medicine
  • Catalysis

In response to different degrees of mechanical injury, certain plant cells re-enter the division cycle to provide cells for tissue replenishment, tissue rejoining, de novo organ formation, and/or wound healing. The intermediate tissue formed by the dividing cells is called a callus. Callus formation can also be induced artificially in vitro by wounding and/or hormone (auxin and cytokinin) treatments. The callus tissue can be maintained in culture, providing starting material for de novo organ or embryo regeneration and thus serving as the basis for many plant biotechnology applications. Due to the biotechnological importance of callus cultures and the scientific interest in the developmental flexibility of somatic plant cells, the initial molecular steps of callus formation have been studied in detail. It was revealed that callus initiation can follow various ways, depending on the organ from which it develops and the inducer, but they converge on a seemingly identical tissue. It is not known, however, if callus is indeed a special tissue with a defined gene expression signature, whether it is a malformed meristem, or a mass of so-called “undifferentiated” cells, as is mostly believed. In this paper, I review the various mechanisms of plant regeneration that may converge on callus initiation. I discuss the role of plant hormones in the detour of callus formation from normal development. Finally, I compare various Arabidopsis gene expression datasets obtained a few days, two weeks, or several years after callus induction and identify 21 genes, including genes of key transcription factors controlling cell division and differentiation in meristematic regions, which were upregulated in all investigated callus samples. I summarize the information available on all 21 genes that point to the pre-meristematic nature of callus tissues underlying their wide regeneration potential.

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