Root tips moving through soil: An intrinsic vulnerability

Gilberto Curlango-Rivera, Martha C. Hawes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Root elongation occurs by the generation of new cells from meristematic tissue within the apical 1-2 mm region of root tips. Therefore penetration of the soil environment is carried out by newly synthesized plant tissue, whose cells are inherently vulnerable to invasion by pathogens. This conundrum, on its face, would seem to reflect an intolerable risk to the successful establishment of root systems needed for plant life. Yet root tip regions housing the meristematic tissues repeatedly have been found to be free of microbial infection and colonization. Even when spore germination, chemotaxis, and/or growth of pathogens are stimulated by signals from the root tip, the underlying root tissue can escape invasion. Recent insights into the functions of root border cells, and the regulation of their production by transient exposure to external signals, may shed light on long-standing observations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)726-727
Number of pages2
JournalPlant Signaling and Behavior
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Border cells
  • Chemotaxis
  • Neutrophil extracellular traps(NETs)
  • Zoospores

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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