Science Bulletin

, Volume 61, Issue 11, pp 847–858 | Cite as

Stem cell lineage in body layer specialization and vascular patterning of rice root and leaf

  • Minhuan Zeng
  • Bo Hu
  • Jiqin Li
  • Guifang Zhang
  • Ying Ruan
  • Hai Huang
  • Hua Wang
  • Lin Xu
Article Life & Medical Sciences


Since the first appearance of vascular plants during evolution, the plant body has become specialized for adaption to land conditions. Much of our knowledge of plant body specialization and the origins of tissues from stem cells have been obtained from studies on the dicot Arabidopsis thaliana. However, less is known about plant body specialization in monocots, another important branch of angiosperms. In this study, we analyzed stem cell lineage and differentiation during development of the root and leaf of the monocot model plant rice (Oryza sativa). Our results showed that three body layers of rice are established from stem cells accompanied by progressively reduced pluripotency. Layer 1 (L1) is a single-cell layer of epidermis; L2 is the cortex/endodermis in the root and the mesophyll in the leaf; and L3 is the site of vascular initiation. At least two common steps in vascular development are shared between rice root and leaf. The preprocambium divides to form the procambium and root pericycle or leaf outer sheath. The procambium further differentiates into the xylem, phloem and circumambient cells. We found that the outer sheath of leaf vascular bundles originates not only from the preprocambium of L3, but also from the mesophyll precursor cells of L2. In addition, WUSCHEL-RELATED HOMEOBOX (WOX) genes are expressed in not only the stem cell niche but also metaxylem precursor in rice. This pattern differs from that of homologs in Arabidopsis, suggesting that WOX functions have been recruited in different stem cells in dicots and monocots.


Oryza sativa Stem cell Body layer Preprocambium Vascular development WOX 



This work was supported by National Basic Research Program of China (2014CB943500/2012CB910500), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (91419302/31422005) and Youth Innovation Promotion Association of Chinese Academy of Sciences. We thank Y. Guan for critical reading of the manuscript.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Laboratory of Plant Molecular Genetics, Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological SciencesChinese Academy of SciencesShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Hunan Provincial Key Laboratory of Crop Germplasm Innovation and UtilizationHunan Agricultural UniversityChangshaChina

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