Formative Cell Divisions: Principal Determinants of Plant Morphogenesis
Plant and Cell Physiology
Formative cell divisions utilizing precise rotations of cell division planes generate and spatially place asymmetric daughters to produce different cell layers. Therefore, by shaping tissues and organs, formative cell divisions dictate multicellular morphogenesis. In animal formative cell divisions, the orientation of the mitotic spindle and cell division planes relies on intrinsic and extrinsic cortical polarity cues. Plants lack known key players from animals, and cell division planes are
... sion planes are determined prior to the mitotic spindle stage. Therefore, it appears that plants have evolved specialized mechanisms to execute formative cell divisions. Despite their profound influence on plant architecture, molecular players and cellular mechanisms regulating formative divisions in plants are not well understood. This is because formative cell divisions in plants have been difficult to track owing to their submerged positions and imprecise timings of occurrence. However, by identifying a spatiotemporally inducible cell division plane switch system applicable for advanced microscopy techniques, recent studies have begun to uncover molecular modules and mechanisms for formative cell divisions. The identified molecular modules comprise developmentally triggered transcriptional cascades feeding onto microtubule regulators that now allow dissection of the hierarchy of the events at better spatiotemporal resolutions. Here, we survey the current advances in understanding of formative cell divisions in plants in the context of embryogenesis, stem cell functionality and post-embryonic organ formation.