Ground tissue circuitry regulates organ complexity in maize and Setaria

Carlos Ortiz-Ramírez, Bruno Guillotin, Xiaosa Xu, Ramin Rahni, Sanqiang Zhang, Zhe Yan, Poliana Coqueiro Dias Araujo, Edgar Demesa-Arevalo, Laura Lee, Joyce van Eck, Thomas R. Gingeras, David Jackson, Kimberly L. Gallagher, Kenneth D. Birnbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Most plant roots have multiple cortex layers that make up the bulk of the organ and play key roles in physiology, such as flood tolerance and symbiosis. However, little is known about the formation of cortical layers outside of the highly reduced anatomy of Arabidopsis. Here, we used single-cell RNA sequencing to rapidly generate a cell-resolution map of the maize root, revealing an alternative configuration of the tissue formative transcription factor SHORT-ROOT (SHR) adjacent to an expanded cortex. We show that maize SHR protein is hypermobile, moving at least eight cell layers into the cortex. Higher-order SHR mutants in both maize and Setaria have reduced numbers of cortical layers, showing that the SHR pathway controls expansion of cortical tissue to elaborate anatomical complexity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1247-1252
Number of pages6
Issue number6572
StatePublished - Dec 3 2021


  • Flow Cytometry
  • Genome, Plant
  • Plant Proteins/genetics
  • Plant Roots/cytology
  • RNA-Seq
  • Setaria Plant/cytology
  • Single-Cell Analysis
  • Transcription Factors/genetics
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Zea mays/cytology


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