The root meristem consists of populations of distal and proximal stem cells, and an organizing center known as the quiescent center. During embryogenesis, initiation of the root meristem occurs when an asymmetric cell division of the hypophysis forms the distal stem cells and quiescent center. We have identified NO TRANSMITTING TRACT (NTT) and two closely related paralogs as being required for the initiation of the root meristem. All three genes are expressed in the hypophysis and their expression is dependent on the auxin-signaling pathway. Expression of these genes is necessary for distal stem cell fate within the root meristem, while misexpression is sufficient to transform other stem cell populations to a distal stem cell fate in both the embryo and mature roots.
Via Christophe Jacquet