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Research article2022Peer reviewedOpen access

Potassium transporter TRH1/KUP4 contributes to distinct auxin-mediated root system architecture responses

Templalexis, Dimitris; Tsitsekian, Dikran; Liu, Chen; Daras, Gerasimos; Simura, Jan; Moschou, Panagiotis; Ljung, Karin; Hatzopoulos, Polydefkis; Rigas, Stamatis


A proton-coupled potassium transporter regulates root hair development and root gravitropism in a cell-file-specific manner by facilitating polar auxin transport in Arabidopsis root tips.In plants, auxin transport and development are tightly coupled, just as hormone and growth responses are intimately linked in multicellular systems. Here we provide insights into uncoupling this tight control by specifically targeting the expression of TINY ROOT HAIR 1 (TRH1), a member of plant high-affinity potassium (K+)/K+ uptake/K+ transporter (HAK/KUP/KT) transporters that facilitate K+ uptake by co-transporting protons, in Arabidopsis root cell files. Use of this system pinpointed specific root developmental responses to acropetal versus basipetal auxin transport. Loss of TRH1 function shows TRHs and defective root gravitropism, associated with auxin imbalance in the root apex. Cell file-specific expression of TRH1 in the central cylinder rescued trh1 root agravitropism, whereas positional TRH1 expression in peripheral cell layers, including epidermis and cortex, restored trh1 defects. Applying a system-level approach, the role of RAP2.11 and ROOT HAIR DEFECTIVE-LIKE 5 transcription factors (TFs) in root hair development was verified. Furthermore, ERF53 and WRKY51 TFs were overrepresented upon restoration of root gravitropism supporting involvement in gravitropic control. Auxin has a central role in shaping root system architecture by regulating multiple developmental processes. We reveal that TRH1 jointly modulates intracellular ionic gradients and cell-to-cell polar auxin transport to drive root epidermal cell differentiation and gravitropic response. Our results indicate the developmental importance of HAK/KUP/KT proton-coupled K+ transporters.

Published in

Plant Physiology
2022, Volume: 188, number: 2, pages: 1043-1060