Branching Out in Roots: Uncovering Form, Function, and Regulation

Jonathan A Atkinson, Amanda Rasmussen, Richard Traini, Ute Voß, Craig Sturrock, Sacha J Mooney, Darren M Wells, Malcolm J Bennett

Root branching is critical for plants to secure anchorage and ensure the supply of water, minerals, and nutrients. To date, research on root branching has focused on lateral root development in young seedlings. However, many other programs of postembryonic root organogenesis exist in angiosperms. In cereal crops, the majority of the mature root system is composed of several classes of adventitious roots that include crown roots and brace roots. In this Update, we initially describe the diversity of postembryonic root forms. Next, we review recent advances in our understanding of the genes, signals, and mechanisms regulating lateral root and adventitious root branching in the plant models Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), maize (Zea mays), and rice (Oryza sativa). While many common signals, regulatory components, and mechanisms have been identified that control the initiation, morphogenesis, and emergence of new lateral and adventitious root organs, much more remains to be done. We conclude by discussing the challenges and opportunities facing root branching research.

Plant Physiology 166 (2), 538-550

Read the Full Text at the publishers site
(may require institutional login)