2022 Volume 39 Issue 1 Pages 13-17
Multicellular organisms regulate cell numbers and cell fate by using asymmetric cell division (ACD) and symmetric cell division (SCD) during their development and to adapt to unfavorable environmental conditions. A stem cell self-renews and generates differentiated cells. In plants, various types of cells are produced by ACD or SCD; however, the molecular mechanisms of ACD or SCD and the cell division mode switch are largely unknown. The moss Physcomitrium (Physcomitrella) patens is a suitable model to study plant stem cells due to its simple anatomy. Here, we report the cell division mode switch induced by abscisic acid (ABA) in P. patens. ABA is synthesized in response to abiotic stresses and induces round-shape cells, called brood cells, from cylindrical protonemal cells. Although two daughter cells with distinct sizes were produced by ACD in a protonemal stem cell on ABA-free media, the sizes of two daughter cells became similar with ABA treatment. Actin microfilaments were spatially localized on the apices of apical stem cells in protonemata on ABA-free media, but the polar accumulation was lost under the condition of ABA treatment. Moreover, ABA treatment conferred an identical cell fate to the daughter cells in terms of cell division activity. Collectively, the results indicate ABA may suppress the ACD characteristics but evoke SCD in cells. We also noticed that ABA-induced brood cells not only self-renewed but regenerated protonemal cells when ABA was removed from the media, suggesting that brood cells are novel stem cells that are induced by environmental signals in P. patens.