Root Type-Specific Reprogramming of Maize Pericycle Transcriptomes by Local High Nitrate Results in Disparate Lateral Root Branching Patterns

Yu, Peng
Baldauf, Jutta
Lithio, Andrew
Marcon, Caroline
Nettleton, Dan
Li, Chunjian
Hochholdinger, Frank
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The adaptability of root system architecture to unevenly distributed mineral nutrients in soil is a key determinant of plant performance. The molecular mechanisms underlying nitrate dependent plasticity of lateral root branching across the different root types of maize are only poorly understood. In this study, detailed morphological and anatomical analyses together with cell type-specific transcriptome profiling experiments combining laser capture microdissection with RNA-seq were performed to unravel the molecular signatures of lateral root formation in primary, seminal, crown, and brace roots of maize (Zea mays) upon local high nitrate stimulation. The four maize root types displayed divergent branching patterns of lateral roots upon local high nitrate stimulation. In particular, brace roots displayed an exceptional architectural plasticity compared to other root types. Transcriptome profiling revealed root type-specific transcriptomic reprogramming of pericycle cells upon local high nitrate stimulation. The alteration of the transcriptomic landscape of brace root pericycle cells in response to local high nitrate stimulation was most significant. Root type-specific transcriptome diversity in response to local high nitrate highlighted differences in the functional adaptability and systemic shoot nitrogen starvation response during development. Integration of morphological, anatomical, and transcriptomic data resulted in a framework underscoring similarity and diversity among root types grown in heterogeneous nitrate environments.


This article is published as Yu, Peng, Jutta A. Baldauf, Andrew Lithio, Caroline Marcon, Dan Nettleton, Chunjian Li, and Frank Hochholdinger. "Root type-specific reprogramming of maize pericycle transcriptomes by local high nitrate results in disparate lateral root branching patterns." Plant physiology 170, no. 3 (2016): 1783-1798. doi: 10.1104/pp.15.01885. Posted with permission.