A Comprehensive Biophysical Model of Ion and Water Transport in Plant Roots. I. Clarifying the Roles of Endodermal Barriers in the Salt Stress Response.
ABSTRACT: In this paper, we present a detailed and comprehensive mathematical model of active and passive ion and water transport in plant roots. Two key features are the explicit consideration of the separate, but interconnected, apoplastic, and symplastic transport pathways for ions and water, and the inclusion of both active and passive ion transport mechanisms. The model is used to investigate the respective roles of the endodermal Casparian strip and suberin lamellae in the salt stress response of plant roots. While it is thought that these barriers influence different transport pathways, it has proven difficult to distinguish their separate functions experimentally. In particular, the specific role of the suberin lamellae has been unclear. A key finding based on our simulations was that the Casparian strip is essential in preventing excessive uptake of Na+ into the plant via apoplastic bypass, with a barrier efficiency that is reflected by a sharp gradient in the steady-state radial distribution of apoplastic Na+ across the barrier. Even more significantly, this function cannot be replaced by the action of membrane transporters. The simulations also demonstrated that the positive effect of the Casparian strip of controlling Na+ uptake, was somewhat offset by its contribution to the osmotic stress component: a more effective barrier increased the detrimental osmotic stress effect. In contrast, the suberin lamellae were found to play a relatively minor, even non-essential, role in the overall response to salt stress, with the presence of the suberin lamellae resulting in only a slight reduction in Na+ uptake. However, perhaps more significantly, the simulations identified a possible role of suberin lamellae in reducing plant energy requirements by acting as a physical barrier to preventing the passive leakage of Na+ into endodermal cells. The model results suggest that more and particular experimental attention should be paid to the properties of the Casparian strip when assessing the salt tolerance of different plant varieties and species. Indeed, the Casparian strip appears to be a more promising target for plant breeding and plant genetic engineering efforts than the suberin lamellae for the goal of improving salt tolerance.
Project description:The endodermis is a key cell layer in plant roots that contributes to the controlled uptake of water and mineral nutrients into plants. In order to provide such functionality the endodermal cell wall has specific chemical modifications consisting of lignin bands (Casparian strips) that encircle each cell, and deposition of a waxy-like substance (suberin) between the wall and the plasma membrane. These two extracellular deposits provide control of diffusion enabling the endodermis to direct the movement of water and solutes into and out of the vascular system in roots. Loss of integrity of the Casparian strip-based apoplastic barrier is sensed by the leakage of a small peptide from the stele into the cortex. Here, we report that such sensing of barrier integrity leads to the rebalancing of water and mineral nutrient uptake, compensating for breakage of Casparian strips. This rebalancing involves both a reduction in root hydraulic conductivity driven by deactivation of aquaporins, and downstream limitation of ion leakage through deposition of suberin. These responses in the root are also coupled to a reduction in water demand in the shoot mediated by ABA-dependent stomatal closure.
Project description:Casparian strips are ring-like cell-wall modifications in the root endodermis of vascular plants. Their presence generates a paracellular barrier, analogous to animal tight junctions, that is thought to be crucial for selective nutrient uptake, exclusion of pathogens, and many other processes. Despite their importance, the chemical nature of Casparian strips has remained a matter of debate, confounding further molecular analysis. Suberin, lignin, lignin-like polymers, or both, have been claimed to make up Casparian strips. Here we show that, in Arabidopsis, suberin is produced much too late to take part in Casparian strip formation. In addition, we have generated plants devoid of any detectable suberin, which still establish functional Casparian strips. In contrast, manipulating lignin biosynthesis abrogates Casparian strip formation. Finally, monolignol feeding and lignin-specific chemical analysis indicates the presence of archetypal lignin in Casparian strips. Our findings establish the chemical nature of the primary root-diffusion barrier in Arabidopsis and enable a mechanistic dissection of the formation of Casparian strips, which are an independent way of generating tight junctions in eukaryotes.
Project description:Casparian strip (CS) is an impregnation of endodermal cell wall, forming an apoplastic diffusion barrier which forces the symplastic and selective transport of nutrients across endodermis. This extracellular structure can be found in the roots of all higher plants and is thought to provide the protection of vascular tissues. In Arabidopsis, a genetic toolbox regulating the formation of Casparian strips has emerged recently. However, Arabidopsis has the stereotypical root which is much simpler than most other plant species. To understand the Casparian strip formation in a more complex root system, we examined CS regulatory pathways in tomato. Our results reveal a spatiotemporally conserved expression pattern of most essential components of CS machinery in tomato. Further functional analyses verify the role of homologous CS genes in the Casparian strip formation in tomato, indicating the functional conservation of CS regulatory cascade in tomato.
Project description:Internal aeration is crucial for root growth under waterlogged conditions. Some wetland plants have a structural barrier that impedes oxygen leakage from the basal part of roots called a radial oxygen loss (ROL) barrier. The ROL barrier reduces loss of oxygen transported via the aerenchyma to the root tips, enabling root growth into anoxic soil. The roots of some plants develop an ROL barrier under waterlogged conditions, while they remain leaky to oxygen under well-drained or aerated conditions. The main components of the inducible ROL barrier are thought to be suberin and lignin deposited at the outer cellular space (apoplast) in the outer part of roots. On the other hand, a few wetland plants including a species of Echinochloa form a constitutive ROL barrier, i.e., it is formed even in the absence of waterlogging. However, little is known about the components of constitutive ROL barriers. An ROL barrier is considered to be a characteristic of wetland species because it has not been found in any non-wetland species so far. Here, we examined whether Echinochloa species from non-waterlogged fields also form an inducible or constitutive ROL barrier. We found that three species of Echinochloa from non-waterlogged fields constitutively developed an ROL barrier under aerated conditions. Over 85% of their root exodermis cells were covered with suberin lamellae and had well-developed Casparian strips. These substances inhibited the infiltration of an apoplastic tracer (periodic acid), suggesting that the ROL barrier can also prevent the entry of phytotoxic compounds from the soil. Unlike the other Echinochloa species, E. oryzicola, which mainly inhabits rice paddies, was found to lack a constitutive ROL barrier under aerated conditions. Although close to 90% of its sclerenchyma was well lignified, it leaked oxygen from the basal part of roots. A high percentage (55%) of the root exodermis cells were not fortified with suberin lamellae. These results suggest that suberin is an important component of constitutive ROL barriers.
Project description:The endodermis in roots acts as a selectivity filter for nutrient and water transport essential for growth and development. This selectivity is enabled by the formation of lignin-based Casparian strips. Casparian strip formation is initiated by the localization of the Casparian strip domain proteins (CASPs) in the plasma membrane, at the site where the Casparian strip will form. Localized CASPs recruit Peroxidase 64 (PER64), a Respiratory Burst Oxidase Homolog F, and Enhanced Suberin 1 (ESB1), a dirigent-like protein, to assemble the lignin polymerization machinery. However, the factors that control both expression of the genes encoding this biosynthetic machinery and its localization to the Casparian strip formation site remain unknown. Here, we identify the transcription factor, MYB36, essential for Casparian strip formation. MYB36 directly and positively regulates the expression of the Casparian strip genes CASP1, PER64, and ESB1. Casparian strips are absent in plants lacking a functional MYB36 and are replaced by ectopic lignin-like material in the corners of endodermal cells. The barrier function of Casparian strips in these plants is also disrupted. Significantly, ectopic expression of MYB36 in the cortex is sufficient to reprogram these cells to start expressing CASP1-GFP, correctly localize the CASP1-GFP protein to form a Casparian strip domain, and deposit a Casparian strip-like structure in the cell wall at this location. These results demonstrate that MYB36 is controlling expression of the machinery required to locally polymerize lignin in a fine band in the cell wall for the formation of the Casparian strip.
Project description:Metasequoia glyptostroboides (Cupressaceae) is a rare deciduous conifer which grows successfully in both aquatic and terrestrial environments. This tree has a narrow natural distribution in central China but is cultivated worldwide. Using histochemical staining and microscopy (both brightfield and epifluorescent), we investigated whether the phenotypic anatomical and histochemical plasticity in the fine adventitious roots of M. glyptostroboides has promoted the adaptation of this plant to aquatic and terrestrial environments. The fine root development and cortex sloughing of M. glyptostroboides occurs later in aquatic habitats than in terrestrial habitats. Anatomical and histochemical analyses have revealed that the apoplastic barriers in the primary growth of the fine roots consist of the endodermis and exodermis with Casparian bands, suberin lamellae, and secondarily lignified cell walls. There were also lignified phi (?) thickenings in the cortex. In both aquatic and terrestrial roots, secondary growth was observed in the vascular cambium, which produced secondary xylem and phloem, as well as in the phellogen, which produced cork. As compared to terrestrial adventitious roots, aquatic adventitious roots had multiple lignified ? thickenings throughout the cortex, larger air spaces, dilated parenchyma, and dense suberin and lignin depositions in the exodermis. Our results thus indicate that phenotypic plasticity in the anatomical features of the fine adventitious roots, including apoplastic barriers, air spaces, and lignified ? thickenings, might support the adaptation of M. glyptostroboides to both aquatic and terrestrial environments.
Project description:Root absorptive characteristics rely on the presence of apoplastic barriers. However, little is known about the establishment of these barriers within a complex root system, particularly in a major portion of them - the lateral roots. In Zea mays L., the exodermis differentiates under the influence of growth conditions. Therefore, the species presents a suitable model to elucidate the cross-talk among environmental conditions, branching pattern and the maturation of barriers within a complex root system involved in the definition of the plant-soil interface. The study describes the extent to which lateral roots differentiate apoplastic barriers in response to changeable environmental conditions.The branching, permeability of the outer cell layers and differentiation of the endo- and exodermis were studied in primary roots and various laterals under different types of stress of agronomic importance (salinity, heavy metal toxicity, hypoxia, etc.). Histochemical methods, image analysis and apoplastic tracer assays were utilized.The results show that the impact of growth conditions on the differentiation of both the endodermis and exodermis is modulated according to the type/diameter of the root. Fine laterals clearly represent that portion of a complex root system with a less advanced state of barrier differentiation, but with substantial ability to modify exodermis differentiation in response to environmental conditions. In addition, some degree of autonomy in exodermal establishment of Casparian bands (CBs) vs. suberin lamellae (SLs) was observed, as the absence of lignified exodermal CBs did not always fit with the lack of SLs.This study highlights the importance of lateral roots, and provides a first look into the developmental variations of apoplastic barriers within a complex root system. It emphasizes that branching and differentiation of barriers in fine laterals may substantially modulate the root system-rhizosphere interaction.
Project description:Roots have complex anatomical structures, and certain localized cell layers develop suberized apoplastic barriers. The size and tightness of these barriers depend on the growth conditions and on the age of the root. Such complex anatomical structures result in a composite water and solute transport in roots.Development of apoplastic barriers along barley seminal roots was detected using various staining methods, and the suberin amounts in the apical and basal zones were analysed using gas chromatography-mass spectometry (GC-MS). The hydraulic conductivity of roots ( Lp r ) and of cortical cells ( Lp c ) was measured using root and cell pressure probes.When grown in hydroponics, barley roots did not form an exodermis, even at their basal zones. However, they developed an endodermis. Endodermal Casparian bands first appeared as 'dots' as early as at 20?mm from the apex, whereas a patchy suberin lamellae appeared at 60?mm. The endodermal suberin accounted for the total suberin of the roots. The absolute amount in the basal zone was significantly higher than in the apical zone, which was inversely proportional to the Lp r . Comparison of Lp r and Lp c suggested that cell to cell pathways dominate for water transport in roots. However, the calculation of Lp r from Lp c showed that at least 26 % of water transport occurs through the apoplast. Roots had different solute permeabilities ( P sr ) and reflection coefficients ( ? sr ) for the solutes used. The ? sr was below unity for the solutes, which have virtually zero permeability for semi-permeable membranes.Suberized endodermis significantly reduces Lp r of seminal roots. The water and solute transport across barley roots is composite in nature and they do not behave like ideal osmometers. The composite transport model should be extended by adding components arranged in series (cortex, endodermis) in addition to the currently included components arranged in parallel (apoplastic, cell to cell pathways).
Project description:Pathogenic bacteria invade plant tissues and proliferate in the extracellular space. Plants have evolved the immune system to recognize and limit the growth of pathogens. Despite substantial progress in the study of plant immunity, the mechanism by which plants limit pathogen growth remains unclear. Here we show that lignin accumulates in Arabidopsis leaves in response to incompatible interactions with bacterial pathogens in a manner dependent on Casparian strip membrane domain protein (CASP)-like proteins (CASPLs). CASPs are known to be the organizers of the lignin-based Casparian strip, which functions as a diffusion barrier in roots. The spread of invading avirulent pathogens is prevented by spatial restriction, which is disturbed by defects in lignin deposition. Moreover, the motility of pathogenic bacteria is negatively affected by lignin accumulation. These results suggest that the lignin-deposited structure functions as a physical barrier similar to the Casparian strip, trapping pathogens and thereby terminating their growth.
Project description:In vascular plants, the root endodermis surrounds the central vasculature as a protective sheath that is analogous to the polarized epithelium in animals, and contains ring-shaped Casparian strips that restrict diffusion. After an initial lag phase, individual endodermal cells suberize in an apparently random fashion to produce 'patchy' suberization that eventually generates a zone of continuous suberin deposition. Casparian strips and suberin lamellae affect paracellular and transcellular transport, respectively. Most angiosperms maintain some isolated cells in an unsuberized state as so-called 'passage cells', which have previously been suggested to enable uptake across an otherwise-impermeable endodermal barrier. Here we demonstrate that these passage cells are late emanations of a meristematic patterning process that reads out the underlying non-radial symmetry of the vasculature. This process is mediated by the non-cell-autonomous repression of cytokinin signalling in the root meristem, and leads to distinct phloem- and xylem-pole-associated endodermal cells. The latter cells can resist abscisic acid-dependent suberization to produce passage cells. Our data further demonstrate that, during meristematic patterning, xylem-pole-associated endodermal cells can dynamically alter passage-cell numbers in response to nutrient status, and that passage cells express transporters and locally affect the expression of transporters in adjacent cortical cells.