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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Auxin triggers pectin modification during rootlet emergence in white lupin

Jobert, Francois; Soriano, Alexandre; Brottier, Laurent; Casset, Celia; Divol, Fanchon; Safran, Josip; Lefebvre, Valerie; Pelloux, Jerome; Robert, Stephanie; Peret, Benjamin


Emergence of secondary roots through parental tissue is a highly controlled developmental process. Although the model plant Arabidopsis has been useful to uncover the predominant role of auxin in this process, its simple root structure is not representative of how emergence takes place in most plants, which display more complex root anatomy. White lupin is a legume crop producing structures called cluster roots, where closely spaced rootlets emerge synchronously. Rootlet primordia push their way through several cortical cell layers while maintaining the parent root integrity, reflecting more generally the lateral root emergence process in most multilayered species. In this study, we showed that lupin rootlet emergence is associated with an upregulation of cell wall pectin modifying and degrading genes under the active control of auxin. Among them, we identified LaPG3, a polygalacturonase gene typically expressed in cells surrounding the rootlet primordium and we showed that its downregulation delays emergence. Immunolabeling of pectin epitopes and their quantification uncovered a gradual pectin demethylesterification in the emergence zone, which was further enhanced by auxin treatment, revealing a direct hormonal control of cell wall properties. We also report rhamnogalacturonan-I modifications affecting cortical cells that undergo separation as a consequence of primordium outgrowth. In conclusion, we describe a model of how external tissues in front of rootlet primordia display cell wall modifications to allow for the passage of newly formed rootlets.


auxin; cell wall; Lupinus albus (white lupin); pectin; root development

Published in

Plant Journal
2022, Volume: 112, number: 5, pages: 1127-1140
Publisher: WILEY