A novel signaling pathway required for arabidopsis endodermal root organization shapes the rhizosphere microbiome
Reference: Plant and Cell Physiology 62: 248–261

The Casparian Strip (CS) constitutes a physical diffusion barrier to water and nutrients in plant roots, which is formed by the polar deposition of lignin polymer in the endodermis tissue. The precise pattern of lignin deposition is determined by the scaffolding activity of membrane-bound Casparian Strip domain proteins (CASPs), but little is known of the mechanism(s) directing this process. Here, we demonstrate that Endodermis-specific Receptor-like Kinase 1 (ERK1)-and to a lesser extent ROP Binding Kinase1 (RBK1)-are also involved in regulating CS formation, with the former playing an essential role in lignin deposition as well as the localisation of CASP1. We show that ERK1 is localised in the cytoplasm and nucleus of the endodermis and that together with the circadian clock regulator, Time for Coffee (TIC), forms part of a novel signaling pathway necessary for correct CS organisation and suberisation of the endodermis, with their single or combined loss of function resulting in altered root microbiome composition. In addition, we found that other mutants displaying defects in suberin deposition at the CS also display altered root exudates and microbiome composition. Thus, our work reveals a complex network of signaling factors operating within the root endodermis that establish both the CS diffusion barrier and influence the microbial composition of the rhizosphere.

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Durr J., Reyt G., Spaepen S., Hilton S., Meehan C., Wu Q., Kamiya T., Flis P., Dickinson H.G., Feher A., Umashankar S., Pavagadhi S., Swarup S., Salt D., Bending G.D., Gutierrez-Marcos J.