Adaptation of Root Function by Nutrient-Induced Plasticity of Endodermal Differentiation

Marie Barberon, Joop Engelbertus Martinus Vermeer, Damien De Bellis, Peng Wang, Sadaf Naseer, Tonni Grube Andersen, Bruno Martin Humbel, Christiane Nawrath, Junpei Takano, David Edward Salt, Niko Geldner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

336 Citations (Scopus)


Plant roots forage the soil for minerals whose concentrations can be orders of magnitude away from those required for plant cell function. Selective uptake in multicellular organisms critically requires epithelia with extracellular diffusion barriers. In plants, such a barrier is provided by the endodermis and its Casparian strips-cell wall impregnations analogous to animal tight and adherens junctions. Interestingly, the endodermis undergoes secondary differentiation, becoming coated with hydrophobic suberin, presumably switching from an actively absorbing to a protective epithelium. Here, we show that suberization responds to a wide range of nutrient stresses, mediated by the stress hormones abscisic acid and ethylene. We reveal a striking ability of the root to not only regulate synthesis of suberin, but also selectively degrade it in response to ethylene. Finally, we demonstrate that changes in suberization constitute physiologically relevant, adaptive responses, pointing to a pivotal role of the endodermal membrane in nutrient homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-459
Number of pages13
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2016

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