Roots can develop resilience and protective barriers to drought and cadmium-induced (Cd) stress. Líška et al. study the ways in which the vascular tissues of roots develop characteristics to mitigate the effects of local abiotic stressors.
They report that contact with air, or with toxic metals such as cadmium, induces an earlier and asymmetrical development of the cell wall polymer suberin lamellae in both the endodermis and the exodermis on the exposed side of the primary root surface of maize. Suberin provides a barrier to the movement of water and solutes. Moreover, local Cd exposure induces early differentiation of the endodermis in the exposed area and in basipetally localized tissues. As a result of these physiological responses, the root endodermis and exodermis provide protection for the plant’s vascular tissues against abiotic stresses.
This paper is part of the Root Biology Special Issue.