A functional exodermal suberin is key for plant nutrition and growth in potato

Angiosperm roots, except in Arabidopsis, have both endodermis and exodermis, which regulate radial water and solute movement through lignin and suberin deposition. While endodermal suberin in Arabidopsis acts as a barrier to water and solute uptake and backflow, its implications in other angiosperms with both layers and the role of exodermal suberin remain unclear. We examined potato roots (Solanum tuberosum) and found that exodermis lacks the typical Casparian strip but forms an outer lignin cap, and quickly suberizes near the root tip. In contrast, a few endodermal cells, with Casparian strip, start suberizing much later. The continuous early exodermal suberization covering the root underlines its potential role in mineral nutrient radial movement. To demonstrate it, we used plants downregulating the suberin biosynthetic gene CYP86A33, which had the root suberin reduced in a 61%. Phenotypic analyses of the suberin-deficient mutant showed altered mineral nutrient concentration, slightly reduced water content and compromised growth. Micro-PIXE analyses identified the distribution of elements within the roots and highlighted anatomical compartments defined by apoplastic barriers. These findings advance our understanding of nutrient radial transport, demonstrate exodermal suberin as a bidirectional and selective barrier to element movement, and underscore its importance in nutrient homeostasis and plant growth ​
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