The defensive arsenal of plant roots

Visualization of suberin (induced toward the bottom root tip) in Arabidopsis thaliana with an intensity-stained gradient. Marie Barberon UniGe

Plants adapt to their nutritional needs by modifying the permeability of their roots through the production or degradation of a cork-like layer called suberin. By studying the regulation of this protective layer in Arabidopsis thaliana, an international team, led by scientists from the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, has discovered four molecular factors responsible for the genetic activation of suberin. The identification of these factors allowed the production of plants with roots that are continuously covered – or, on the contrary, completely devoid – of suberin. These factors are of major interest for the selection of plants more resistant to environmental stresses. This work is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

These two members of the Swiss Plant Science Web and their teams are involved in this research: Marie Barberon, professor at the Department of Botany and Plant Biology of the UNIGE and Dr. Christiane Nawrath PI at the Department of Plant Molecular Biology of the University of Lausanne.

Reference publication
Vinay Shukla, Jian-Pu Han, Fabienne Cléard, Linnka Lefebvre-Legendre, Kay Gully, Paulina Flis, Alice Berhin, Tonni G. Andersen, David E. Salt, Christiane Nawrath, and Marie Barberon
Suberin plasticity to developmental and exogenous cues is regulated by a set of MYB transcription factors
PNAS September 28, 2021 118 (39) e2101730118;

University of Geneva press release