, Volume 60, Issue 6, pp 871-887

Lateral Root Initiation or the Birth of a New Meristem

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Abstract

Root branching happens through the formation of new meristems out of a limited number of pericycle cells inside the parent root. As opposed to shoot branching, the study of lateral root formation has been complicated due to its internal nature, and a lot of questions remain unanswered. However, due to the availability of new molecular tools and more complete genomic data in the model species Arabidopsis, the probability to find new and crucial elements in the lateral root formation pathway has increased. Increasingly more data are supporting the idea that lateral root founder cells become specified in young root parts before differentiation is accomplished. Next, pericycle founder cells undergo anticlinal asymmetric, divisions followed by an organized cell division pattern resulting in the formation of a new organ. The whole process of cell cycle progression and stimulation of the molecular pathway towards lateral root initiation is triggered by the plant hormone auxin. In this review, we aim to give an overview on the developmental events taking place from the very early specification of founder cells in the pericycle until the first anticlinal divisions by combining the knowledge originating from classical physiology studies with new insights from genetic-molecular analyses. Based on the current knowledge derived from recent genetic and developmental studies, we propose here a hypothetical model for LRI.