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The reiterative process of lateral root (LR) formation is widespread and underlies root system formation. However, early LR primordium (LRP) morphogenesis is not fully understood. In this study, we conducted both a clonal analysis and time-lapse experiments to decipher the pattern and sequence of pericycle founder cell (FC) participation in LR formation. Most commonly, LRP initiation starts with the specification of just one FC longitudinally. Clonal and anatomical analyses suggested that a single FC gradually recruits neighboring pericycle cells to become FCs. This conclusion was validated by long-term time-lapse live-imaging experiments. Once the first FC starts to divide, its immediate neighbors, both lengthwise and laterally, are recruited within the hour, after which they recruit their neighboring cells within a few hours. Therefore, LRP initiation is a gradual, multistep process. FC recruitment is auxin-dependent and is abolished by treatment with a polar auxin transport inhibitor. Furthermore, FC recruitment establishes a morphogenetic field where laterally peripheral cells have a lower auxin response, which is associated with a lower proliferation potential, compared to centrally located FCs. The lateral boundaries of the morphogenetic field are determined by phloem-adjacent pericycle cells, which are the last cells to be recruited as FCs. The proliferation potential of these cells is limited, but their recruitment is essential for root system formation, resulting in the formation of a new vascular connection between the nascent and parent root, which is crucial for establishing a continuous and efficient vascular system.


Héctor H Torres-Martínez, Paul Hernández-Herrera, Gabriel Corkidi, Joseph G Dubrovsky. From one cell to many: Morphogenetic field of lateral root founder cells in Arabidopsis thaliana is built by gradual recruitment. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 2020 Aug 25;117(34):20943-20949

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PMID: 32817465

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