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Plant Physiol. 2000 Dec;124(4):1648-57.

Pericycle cell proliferation and lateral root initiation in Arabidopsis.

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  • 1Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas del Noroeste (CIBNOR), Mar Bermejo, 195, Playa Palo Santa Rita, La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico 23090, USA.


In contrast with other cells generated by the root apical meristem in Arabidopsis, pericycle cells adjacent to the protoxylem poles of the vascular cylinder continue to cycle without interruption during passage through the elongation and differentiation zones. However, only some of the dividing pericycle cells are committed to the asymmetric, formative divisions that give rise to lateral root primordia (LRPs). This was demonstrated by direct observation and mapping of mitotic figures, cell-length measurements, and the histochemical analysis of a cyclin-GUS fusion protein in pericycle cells. The estimated duration of a pericycle cell cycle in the root apical meristem was similar to the interval between cell displacement from the meristem and the initiation of LRP formation. Developmentally controlled LRP initiation occurs early, 3 to 8 mm from the root tip. Thus the first growth control point in lateral root formation is defined by the initiation of primordia in stochastic patterns by cells passing through the elongation and young differentiation zones, up to where lateral roots begin to emerge from the primary root. Therefore, the first growth control point is not restricted to a narrow developmental window. We propose that late LRP initiation is developmentally unrelated to the root apical meristem and is operated by a second growth control point that can be activated by environmental cues. The observation that pericycle cells divide and lateral root primordia form without intervening mitotic quiescence suggests that lateral organ formation in roots and shoots might not be as fundamentally different as previously thought.

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