Chinese Science Bulletin, Volume 61, Issue 36: 3887-3902(2016) https://doi.org/10.1360/N972016-00629

Recent progress on plant regeneration

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  • ReceivedMay 22, 2016
  • AcceptedJun 27, 2016
  • PublishedNov 17, 2016


For survival from severe natural conditions, plants have evolved powerful regenerative abilities, conferring specific cells with totipotency or pluripotency. The regenerative abilities have been widely exploited in agricultural production, and the commonly used technologies include cuttage, engraft and the propagation through plant tissue culture.

In seed plants, regeneration usually results in two different consequences. Firstly, damaged tissues can be repaired by tissue regeneration; Secondly, certain somatic cells can be used as a source to regenerate a whole plant via de novo organogenesis or somatic embryogenesis. In this review, we mainly summarize the recent advances in de novo organogenesis and somatic embryogenesis in seed plants, and intend to provide useful information to the plant scientists, especially those who are interested in the improvement of agricultural applications of plant regeneration.

De novo organogenesis refers to the formation of adventitious roots or shoots from the regeneration-competent cells in wounded or detached plant organs. During de novo organogenesis, the regeneration-competent cells, such as procambium, pericycle or other parenchyma cells in the vasculature of various plant tissues, do not experience a dedifferentiation process backward to the embryo-stage state. De novo organogenesis may occur directly from the regeneration-competent cells in cultured explants, or progress indirectly from the non-embryonic callus. Interestingly, non-embryonic callus formation from different plant organs follows a common mechanism and appears to be the ectopic activation of a root development program. Therefore, unlike previously believed, non-embryonic callus consists of a group of root primordium-like cells.

During somatic embryogenesis, differentiated cells change their fates to become embryonic cells via dedifferentiation. The somatic embryos can be formed either directly from somatic cells or indirectly from embryonic callus. Plant hormones, genes involved in embryo development and shoot apical meristem maintenance, and some epigenetic factors play key roles in either direct or indirect somatic embryogenesis.

The underlying theme of plant regeneration is the cell fate transition upon wounding or stress. In recent years, our knowledge about cell lineage during the fate transition in plant regeneration and molecular mechanism that directs the cell fate transition has been greatly improved. These benefit our understanding of the plant cell flexibility significantly. Wound and stress signals, actions of phytohormones and functions of transcription factors and epigenetic factors were explored in different types of plant regeneration. It becomes clear that wound and stress signals induce phytohormone actions at the earliest stage of regeneration. While auxin is required for de novo root organogenesis and callus formation, cytokinin triggers de novo shoot organogenesis. In somatic embryogenesis, auxin and abscisic acid play key roles in cell dedifferentiation. The phytohormone actions usually result in expressional changes of many key transcriptions factors, which act together or coordinate with epigenetic factors to control changes of transcriptomes in the cells for their fate transition.

Despite the very rapidly progresses, many questions still remained unanswered in the regulation of plant regeneration. What is the molecular basis of wound and stress signals? Can any kind of cells in the plant undergo dedifferentiation to form somatic embryo? What is the common molecular basis for cells to acquire the regeneration competence? What are the molecular mechanisms guiding actions of phytohormones, transcription factors and epigenetic factors? What is the cell lineage during fate transition of different plant cells in regeneration? All these questions need to be further addressed in the future.

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感谢课题组成员对文稿的讨论和建议. 由于篇幅有限, 对未能引用的部分植物再生研究文献表示歉意.


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  • Figure 1

    (Color online) Regeneration in plants. (a) Direct de novo organogenesis in Graptopetalum paraguayense; (b) indirect de novo organogenesis in tissue culture of leaf explants from Arabidopsis thaliana; (c) direct somatic embryogenesis in tissue culture of Arabidopsis thaliana; (d) indirect somatic embryogenesis in tissue culture of Arabidopsis thaliana

  • Figure 2

    (Color online) Method to study de novo root organogenesis. The first pair of leaves from 12-day-old Arabidopsis thaliana were cut and cultured on B5 medium without added hormones in dark conditions (with sucrose) or in light conditions (without sucrose). Adventitious roots formed from leaf explants around 6 to 12 days after culture[21]

  • Figure 3

    (Color online) Model of de novo organogenesis. (a) Model of cell lineages in direct de novo root organogenesis (B5), non-embryonic callus formation (CIM), indirect de novo root organogenesis (RIM) and indirect de novo shoot organogenesis (SIM). Cell lineages in RIM and SIM are predicted based on hypothesis; (b) model of meristem organization in RAM[31]

  • Figure 4

    (Color online) Model of somatic embryogenesis. Predicted processes of direct and indirect somatic embryogenesis

  • Figure 5

    (Color online) Asexual reproduction in Bryophyllum

  • 徐麟


    博士, 中国科学院上海生命科学研究院植物生理生态研究所研究员. 上海交通大学获学士、硕士学位, 2008年于法国斯特拉斯堡第一大学获博士学位. 2008年至今在中国科学院上海生命科学研究院植物生理生态研究所工作. 2015年国家自然科学基金优秀青年科学基金获得者. 研究兴趣为植物干细胞与再生. 研究内容主要集中在植物再生过程中的信号转导和干细胞命运转变, 以及植物干细胞和再生能力的演化历程.

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