A conserved superlocus regulates above- and belowground root initiation

Moutasem Omary, Naama Gil-Yarom, Chen Yahav, Evyatar Steiner, Anat Hendelman, Idan Efroni*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Plants continuously form new organs in different developmental contexts in response to environmental cues. Underground lateral roots initiate from prepatterned cells in the main root, but cells can also bypass the root-shoot trajectory separation and generate shoot-borne roots through an unknown mechanism. We mapped tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) shoot-borne root development at single-cell resolution and showed that these roots initiate from phloem-associated cells through a unique transition state. This state requires the activity of a transcription factor that we named SHOOTBORNE ROOTLESS (SBRL). Evolutionary analysis reveals that SBRL’s function and cis regulation are conserved in angiosperms and that it arose as an ancient duplication, with paralogs controlling wound-induced and lateral root initiation. We propose that the activation of a common transition state by context-specific regulators underlies the plasticity of plant root systems.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbereabf4368
Pages (from-to)eabf4368
Issue number6584
StatePublished - 4 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All rights reserved.


  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genes, Plant
  • Genetic Loci
  • Lycopersicon esculentum/genetics
  • Magnoliopsida/genetics
  • Meristem/growth & development
  • Plant Proteins/genetics
  • Plant Roots/cytology
  • Plant Shoots/cytology
  • RNA-Seq
  • Single-Cell Analysis
  • Transcription, Genetic


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