An undergraduate study of two transcription factors that promote lateral root formation

Bastiaan O R Bargmann, Kenneth D. Birnbaum, Eric D. Brenner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present a lab that enables students to test the role of genes involved in the regulation of lateral roots growth in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. Here, students design an experiment that follows the effects of the hormone auxin on the stimulation of genes involved in the formation of lateral root initials. These genes, known as lateral organ boundary domain containing protein (LBD) genes, are upregulated in the presence of auxin as part of a multistep molecular and biochemically controlled pathway. Depending on which LBD gene is tested, and the stage of root development, expression patterns are localized in a discrete and punctate fashion at the site of lateral root initials (LBD33), or reveal a broader localization pattern (LBD16). Students view expression using the reporter gene GUS (beta-glucuronidase). Before GUS staining, students view root growth in a "pseudo-aseptic" agar-based environment that allows complete visualization of whole root development to determine the proper stage to test molecular expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-245
Number of pages9
JournalBiochemistry and Molecular Biology Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2014


  • Gene expression
  • Molecular biology
  • Plant biochemistry
  • Signaling pathways

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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