Plant Cell, Tissue and Organ Culture

, Volume 74, Issue 3, pp 201–228 | Cite as

Transition of somatic plant cells to an embryogenic state

  • Attila FehérEmail author
  • Taras P. Pasternak
  • Dénes Dudits


Under appropriate in vivo or in vitro conditions, certain somatic plant cells have the capability to initiate embryogenic development (somatic embryogenesis). Somatic embryogenesis provides an unique experimental model to understand the molecular and cellular bases of developmental plasticity in plants. In the last few years, the application of modern experimental techniques, as well as the characterization of Arabidopsis embryogenesis mutants, have resulted in the accumulation of novel data about the acquisition of embryogenic capabilities by somatic plant cells. In this review, we summarize relevant experimental observations that can contribute to the description and definition of a transitional state of somatic cells induced to form totipotent, embryogenic cells. During this somatic-to-embryogenic transition, cells have to dedifferentiate, activate their cell division cycle and reorganize their physiology, metabolism and gene expression patterns. The roles of stress, endogenous growth regulators and chromatin remodelling in the coordinated reorganization of the cellular state are especially emphasized.

arabinogalactan proteins Ca2+ cell division cell polarity chromatin differential screening pH protein turnover somatic embryogenesis stress 


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© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Attila Fehér
    • 1
    Email author
  • Taras P. Pasternak
    • 1
  • Dénes Dudits
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Functional Cell Biology, Institute of Plant Biology, Biological Research CenterHungarian Academy of SciencesSzegedHungary

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