Plant Stem Cells

What are plant stem cells?

Plant stem cells are innately undifferentiated cells located in the meristems of plants.[1] Plant stem cells serve as the origin of plant vitality, as they maintain themselves while providing a steady supply of precursor cells to form differentiated tissues and organs in plants.[2] Two distinct areas of stem cells are recognised: the apical meristem and the lateral meristem.
Root tip (10X) 1) Meristem; 2)Columelle 3)Lateral part of the tip; 4)Dead Cells; 5)Elongation zone
Plant stem cells are characterized by two distinctive properties, which are: the ability to create all differentiated cell types and the ability to self-renew such that the number of stem cells is maintained.Plant stem cells never undergo aging process but immortally give rise to new specialized and unspecialized cells, and they have the potential to grow into any organ, tissue, or cell in the body.Thus they are totipotent cells equipped with regenerative powers that facilitate plant growth and production of new organs throughout lifetime.
Numerous medicines, perfumes, pigments, antimicrobials, and insecticides are derived from plant natural products. Cultured Cambial Meristematic Cells (CMC) may provide a cost-effective, environmentally friendly, and sustainable source of important natural products, including paclitaxel. Unlike plant cultivation, this approach is not subject to the unpredictability caused by variation in climatic conditions or political instability in certain parts of the world. Also, CMCs from reference specifies may also provide an important biological tool to explore plant stem cell function.

In 2010, researchers from the Plant Stem Cell Institute (formerly Unhwa Institute of Science and Technology) presented their data to the world via Nature Biotechnology. Their research demonstrated the world's first cambial meristematic cell isolation. Due to the valuable and beneficial compounds for human health (i.e. paclitaxel) which are secreted by the CMC's, this technology is considered a serious breakthrough in plant biotechnology.