The root indeterminacy-to-determinacy developmental switch is operated through a folate-dependent pathway in Arabidopsis thaliana
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Roots have both indeterminate and determinate developmental programs. The latter is preceded by the former. It is not well understood how the indeterminacy-to-determinacy switch (IDS) is regulated. We isolated a moots koom2 (mko2; 'short root' in Mayan) Arabidopsis thaliana mutant with determinate primary root growth and analyzed the root apical meristem (RAM) behavior using various marker lines. Deep sequencing and genetic and pharmacological complementation permitted the identification of a point mutation in the FOLYLPOLYGLUTAMATE SYNTHETASE1 (FPGS1) gene responsible for the mko2 phenotype. Wild-type FPGS1 is required to maintain the IDS in the 'off' state. When FPGS1 function is compromised, the IDS is turned on and the RAM becomes completely consumed. The polyglutamate-dependent pathway of the IDS involves activation of the quiescent center independently of auxin gradients and regulatory modules participating in RAM maintenance (WUSCHEL-RELATED HOMEOBOX5 (WOX5), PLETHORA, and SCARECROW (SCR)). The mko2 mutation causes drastic changes in folate metabolism and also affects lateral root primordium morphogenesis but not initiation. We identified a metabolism-dependent pathway involved in the IDS in roots. We suggest that the root IDS represents a specific developmental pathway that regulates RAM behaviour and is a different level of regulation in addition to RAM maintenance. © 2014 New Phytologist Trust.