RSL class I genes positively regulate root hair development in Oryza sativa.
Kim CM., Han CD., Dolan L.
Root hairs are filamentous protuberances from superficial cells of plant roots that are critical for nutrient uptake. Genes encoding ROOT HAIR DEFECTIVE-SIX LIKE (RSL) class I basic helix-loop-helix proteins are expressed in future root hair cells (trichoblasts) of the Arabidopsis thaliana root where they positively regulate root hair cell development. We characterized the function of class I genes in Oryza sativa root development. We show that there are three RSL class I genes in O. sativa and that each is expressed in developing root hair cells. Reduction of RSL class I function results in the development of shorter root hairs than in wild-type. Ectopic overexpression results in the development of ectopic root hair cells. These data suggest that expression of individual RSL class I proteins is sufficient for root hair development in the cereal O. sativa (rice). Therefore RSL class I genes have been conserved since O. sativa and A. thaliana last shared a common ancestor. However, given that RSL class I genes are not sufficient for root hair development in A. thaliana, it suggests that there are differences in the mechanisms repressing RSL class I gene activity between members of the Poaceae and Brassicaceae.