Non-canonical WOX11-mediated root branching contributes to plasticity in arabidopsis root system architecture

Lihong Sheng, Xiaomei Hu, Yujuan Du, Guifang Zhang, Hai Huang, Ben Scheres, Lin Xu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Lateral roots (LRs), which originate from the growing root, and adventitious roots (ARs), which are formed from non-root organs, are the main contributors to the post-embryonic root system in Arabidopsis. However, our knowledge of how formation of the root system is altered in response to diverse inductive cues is limited. Here, we show that WOX11 contributes to root system plasticity. When seedlings are grown vertically on medium, WOX11 is not expressed in LR founder cells. During AR initiation, WOX11 is expressed in AR founder cells and activates LBD16. LBD16 also functions in LR formation and is activated in that context by ARF7/19 and not byWOX11. This indicates that divergent initial processes that lead to ARs and LRs may converge on a similar mechanism for primordium development. Furthermore, we demonstrated that when plants are grown in soil or upon wounding on medium, the primary root is able to produce both WOX11-mediated and non-WOX11-mediated roots. The discovery of WOX11-mediated root-derived roots reveals a previously uncharacterized pathway that confers plasticity during the generation of root system architecture in response to different inductive cues.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3126-3133
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Adventitious root
  • Arabidopsis
  • Lateral root
  • LBD16
  • Root system
  • WOX11

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