Transcriptome diversity among rice root types during asymbiosis and interaction with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi

Caroline Gutjahr, Ruairidh J.H. Sawers, Guillaume Marti, Liliana Andrés-Hernández, Shu Yi Yang, Leonardo Casieri, Herbert Angliker, Edward J. Oakeley, Jean Luc Wolfender, Cei Abreu-Goodger, Uta Paszkowski

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84 Scopus citations


Root systems consist of different root types (RTs) with distinct developmental and functional characteristics. RTs may be individually reprogrammed in response to their microenvironment to maximize adaptive plasticity. Molecular understanding of such specific remodeling - although crucial for crop improvement - is limited. Here, RT-specific transcriptomes of adult rice crown, large and fine lateral roots were assessed, revealing molecular evidence for functional diversity among individual RTs. Of the three rice RTs, crown roots displayed a significant enrichment of transcripts associated with phytohormones and secondary cell wall (SCW) metabolism, whereas lateral RTs showed a greater accumulation of transcripts related to mineral transport. In nature, arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) symbiosis represents the default state of most root systems and is known to modify root system architecture. Rice RTs become heterogeneously colonized by AM fungi, with large laterals preferentially entering into the association. However, RT-specific transcriptional responses to AM symbiosis were quantitatively most pronounced for crown roots despite their modest physical engagement in the interaction. Furthermore, colonized crown roots adopted an expression profile more related to mycorrhizal large lateral than to noncolonized crown roots, suggesting a fundamental reprogramming of crown root character. Among these changes, a significant reduction in SCW transcripts was observed that was correlated with an alteration of SCW composition as determined by mass spectrometry. The combined change in SCW, hormone- and transport-related transcript profiles across the RTs indicates a previously overlooked switch of functional relationships among RTs during AM symbiosis, with a potential impact on root system architecture and functioning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6754-6759
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number21
StatePublished - May 26 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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