Dedifferentiation signifies the capacity of somatic cells to acquire stem cell-like properties. This process can be induced during normal development and as a response to various stimuli, such as pathogen infection and wounding. Dedifferentiation also characterizes the transition of differentiated leaf cells into protoplasts (plant cells devoid of cell walls), a transition accompanied by widespread chromatin decondensation. Transcriptome profiling of dedifferentiating protoplast cells revealed striking similarities with senescing cells; both display a large increase in the expression of genes of specific transcription factor (TF) families, including ANAC, WRKY, bZIP, and C2H2. Further analysis showed that leaves induced to senesce by exposure to dark display characteristic features of dedifferentiating cells, including chromatin decondensation, disruption of the nucleolus, and condensation of rRNA genes. Considering that premature senescence can be induced by various stress conditions both in plant and animal cells, our results suggest that the response of plant and also animal cells to certain stresses converges on cellular dedifferentiation whereby cells first acquire stem cell-like state prior to acquisition of a new cell fate (e.g., reentry into the cell cycle or death).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geriatrics and Gerontology