Journal of Plant Growth Regulation

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 83–92 | Cite as

Cytokinin Inhibits Lateral Root Development at the Earliest Stages of Lateral Root Primordium Initiation in Maize Primary Root

  • Gonzalo Márquez
  • M. Victoria Alarcón
  • Julio SalgueroEmail author


Root architecture is basically controlled by auxin and cytokinin, which antagonize in the formation of lateral roots (LRs) along the primary root (PR) axis. Several mechanisms have been proposed to explain the interaction between these two hormones, cytokinin being the hormone that inhibits LR formation. The analysis of the cytokinin effect on LR formation using LRs in several stages of development could indicate which steps of LR formation are more sensitive to cytokinin. The application of cytokinin to maize PRs showed that the inhibitory effect of cytokinin on LR formation was greater in the zones in which the initial events to form new LRs are taking place. In the presence of cytokinin, the PR is not able to produce new LRs in the initiation zone; this inhibitory effect is permanent as this zone did not recover the capability to form LRs after removing cytokinin. However, the LR density in zones with appreciable LR primordia when cytokinin was applied was only slightly inhibited when a high concentration was used. These results showed that LR formation is more sensitive to the inhibitory effect of cytokinin in the earliest stages of LR development. However, the elongation of a LR primordium to emerge and the subsequent elongation of the new LR were only slightly affected by cytokinin.


Lateral roots Cytokinin Zea mays L. Maize 



This work was supported by Junta de Extremadura Grupos de Investigación GR15112, AGROS, GR15158 and FEDER funds. Authors thank Alberto Salguero Alarcón for reviewing the manuscript in English.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Biología Vegetal, Ecología y Ciencias de la TierraUniversidad de ExtremaduraBadajozSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de HortofruticulturaCentro de Investigación La Orden-Valdesequera (CICYTEX)GuadajiraSpain

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