Cytokinin signaling during root development

Anthony Bishopp, Hanna Help & Ykä Helariutta

The cytokinin class of phytohormones regulates division and differentiation of plant cells. They are perceived and signaled by a phosphorelay mechanism similar to those observed in prokaryotes. Research into the components of phosphorelay had previously been marred by genetic redundancy. However, recent studies have addressed this with the creation of high-order mutants. In addition, several new elements regulating cytokinin signaling have been identified. This has uncovered many roles in diverse developmental and physiological processes. In this review, we look at these processes specifically in the context of root development. We focus on the formation and maintenance of the root apical meristem, primary and secondary vascular development, lateral root emergence and development, and root nodulation. We believe that the root is an ideal organ with which to investigate cytokinin signaling in a wider context.