Three maize root-specific genes are not correctly expressed in regenerated caps in the absence of the quiescent center
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The quiescent center is viewed as an architectural template in the root apical meristem of all angiosperm and gymnosperm root tips. In roots of Arabidopsis thaliana (L.) Heynh., the quiescent center inhibits differentiation of contacting initial cells and maintains the surrounding initial cells as stem cells. Here, the role of the quiescent center in the development of the maize (Zea mays L.) root cap has been further explored. Three maize root-specific genes were identified. Two of these were exclusively expressed in the root cap and one of them encoded a GDP-mannose-4,6-dehydratase. Most likely these two genes are structural, tissue-specific markers of the cap. The third gene, a putative glycine-rich cell wall protein, was expressed in the cap and in the root epidermis and, conceivably is a positional marker of the cap. Microsurgical and molecular data indicate that the quiescent center and cap initials may regulate the positional and structural expression of these genes in the cap and thereby control root cap development.
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