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Building a regulatory network for lateral root emergence

Final Report Summary - EMERGENCE (Building a regulatory network for lateral root emergence)

Plants adaptation to soil necessitates a high level of plasticity of the root system. This developmental plasticity is achieved by the production of lateral roots in response to the environment. Lateral roots originate deep within the parental root from a small number of founder cells at the periphery of the vascular tissues and must emerge through intervening layers of tissues. Despite its importance to the integrity of the root system, little is known about the regulation of lateral root emergence. Recently, our lab identified that the auxin influx transporter LAX3 plays a key role in this process by regulating the expression of cell wall remodelling genes (Swarup et al., 2008).

The EMERGENCE project aimed at identifying the molecular events underlying this process in order to build a multiscale model of lateral root emergence. The goal of our modelling approach was to:
1) build a network model of LAX3 induction in the cortical cells to determine if the actual network topology can explain the dynamics of LAX3 induction by auxin,
2) integrate the network into a realistic 3D geometry to characterise the spatial induction of LAX3 and
3) to determine whether our model could predict new important components of the LR emergence pathway.