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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.

Original publication

DOI

10.1111/nph.14160

Type

Journal article

Journal

New Phytol

Publication Date

01/2017

Volume

213

Pages

314 - 323

Keywords

Arabidopsis thaliana, Oryza sativa, ROOT HAIR DEFECTIVE-SIX LIKE (RSL) class I genes, basic helix-loop-helix transcription factors, rice, root hair, roots