Journal Article

The lateral root initiation index: an integrative measure of primordium formation

J. G. Dubrovsky, A. Soukup, S. Napsucialy-Mendivil, Z. Jeknić and M. G. Ivanchenko

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 103, issue 5, pages 807-817
Published in print March 2009 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online January 2009 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcn267
The lateral root initiation index: an integrative measure of primordium formation

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  • Ecology and Conservation
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Background and Aims

Lateral root initiation is an essential and continuous process in the formation of root systems; therefore, its quantitative analysis is indispensable. In this study a new measure of lateral root initiation is proposed and analysed, namely the lateral root initiation index (ILRI), which defines how many lateral roots and/or primordia are formed along a parent-root portion corresponding to 100 cortical cells in a file.

Methods

For data collection, a commonly used root clearing procedure was employed, and a new simple root clearing procedure is also proposed. The ILRI was determined as 100dl, where d is the density of lateral root initiation events (number mm−1) and l is the average fully elongated cortical cell length (mm).

Key Results

Analyses of different Arabidopsis thaliana genotypes and of a crop plant, tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), showed that ILRI is a more precise parameter than others commonly used as it normalizes root growth for variations in cell length. Lateral root primordium density varied in the A. thaliana accessions Col, Ler, Ws, and C24; however, in all accessions except Ws, ILRI was similar under the same growth conditions. The nitrogen/carbon ratio in the growth medium did not change the lateral root primordium density but did affect ILRI. The ILRI was also modified in a number of auxin-related mutants, revealing new root branching phenotypes in some of these mutants. The rate of lateral root initiation increased with Arabidopsis seedling age; however, ILRI was not changed in plants between 8 and 14 d post-germination.

Conclusions

The ILRI allows for a more precise comparison of lateral root initiation under different growth conditions, treatments, genotypes and plant species than other comparable methods.

Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana; auxin; lateral root density; lateral root initiation index; mutant phenotype; pericycle; root architecture; root branching; root primordium; Solanum lycopersicum

Journal Article.  8545 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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