- •Root system architecture depends on lateral root (LR) initiation that takes place in a relatively narrow developmental window (DW). Here, we analyzed the role of auxin gradients established along the parent root in defining this DW for LR initiation.
- •Correlations between auxin distribution and response, and spatiotemporal control of LR initiation were analyzed in Arabidopsis thaliana and tomato (Solanum lycopersicum).
- •In both Arabidopsis and tomato roots, a well defined zone, where auxin content and response are minimal, demarcates the position of a DW for founder cell specification and LR initiation. We show that in the zone of auxin minimum pericycle cells have highest probability to become founder cells and that auxin perception via the TIR1/AFB pathway, and polar auxin transport, are essential for the establishment of this zone.
- •Altogether, this study reveals that the same morphogen-like molecule, auxin, can act simultaneously as a morphogenetic trigger of LR founder cell identity and as a gradient-dependent signal defining positioning of the founder cell specification. This auxin minimum zone might represent an important control mechanism ensuring the LR initiation steadiness and the acropetal LR initiation pattern.