In Arabidopsis thaliana, lateral roots initiate in a process preceded by periodic gene expression known as the root clock. We identified the vesicle-trafficking regulator GNOM and its suppressor, ADENOSINE PHOSPHATE RIBOSYLATION FACTOR GTPase ACTIVATION PROTEIN DOMAIN3, as root clock regulators. GNOM is required for the proper distribution of pectin, a mediator of intercellular adhesion, whereas the pectin esterification state is essential for a functional root clock. In sites of lateral root primordia emergence, both esterified and de-esterified pectin variants are differentially distributed. Using a reverse-genetics approach, we show that genes controlling pectin esterification regulate the root clock and lateral root initiation. These results indicate that the balance between esterified and de-esterified pectin states is essential for proper root clock function and the subsequent initiation of lateral root primordia.
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