A suberized exodermis is required for tomato drought tolerance

Alex Cantó-Pastor, Kaisa Kajala, Lidor Shaar-Moshe, Concepción Manzano, Prakash Timilsena, Damien De Bellis, Sharon Gray, Julia Holbein, He Yang, Sana Mohammad, Niba Nirmal, Kiran Suresh, Robertas Ursache, G. Alex Mason, Mona Gouran, Donnelly A. West, Alexander T. Borowsky, Kenneth A. Shackel, Neelima Sinha, Julia Bailey-SerresNiko Geldner, Song Li, Rochus Benni Franke, Siobhan M. Brady*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Plant roots integrate environmental signals with development using exquisite spatiotemporal control. This is apparent in the deposition of suberin, an apoplastic diffusion barrier, which regulates flow of water, solutes and gases, and is environmentally plastic. Suberin is considered a hallmark of endodermal differentiation but is absent in the tomato endodermis. Instead, suberin is present in the exodermis, a cell type that is absent in the model organism Arabidopsis thaliana. Here we demonstrate that the suberin regulatory network has the same parts driving suberin production in the tomato exodermis and the Arabidopsis endodermis. Despite this co-option of network components, the network has undergone rewiring to drive distinct spatial expression and with distinct contributions of specific genes. Functional genetic analyses of the tomato MYB92 transcription factor and ASFT enzyme demonstrate the importance of exodermal suberin for a plant water-deficit response and that the exodermal barrier serves an equivalent function to that of the endodermis and can act in its place.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-130
Number of pages13
JournalNature Plants
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


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