Root systems regulate their branching patterns in response to environmental stimuli. Lateral root development in both monocotyledons and dicotyledons is enhanced in response to inoculation with arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi, which has been interpreted as a developmental response to specific, symbiosis-activating chitinaceous signals. Here, we report that generic instead of symbiosis-specific, chitin-derived molecules trigger lateral root formation. We demonstrate that this developmental response requires the well-known microbe-associated molecular pattern (MAMP) receptor, Chitin Elicitor Receptor Kinase 1 (CERK1), in rice, Medicago truncatula, and Lotus japonicus, as well as the non-host of AM fungi, Arabidopsis thaliana, lending further support for a broadly conserved signal transduction mechanism across angiosperms. Using rice mutants impaired in strigolactone biosynthesis and signaling, we show that strigolactone signaling is necessary to regulate this developmental response. Rice CERK1 operates together with either Chitin Elicitor Binding Protein (CEBiP) or Nod Factor Receptor 5 (NFR5) in immunity and symbiosis signaling, respectively; for the lateral root response, however, all three LysM receptors are required. Our work, therefore, reveals an overlooked but a conserved role of LysM receptors integrating MAMP perception with developmental responses in plants, an ability that might influence the interaction between roots and the rhizosphere biota.
Keywords: arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis; chitin; lateral roots; receptor kinases; root development; strigolactones.
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