The Castanea sativa SCL1 gene (CsSCL1) has previously been shown to be induced by auxin during adventitious root (AR) formation in rooting-competent microshoots. However, its expression has not previously been analyzed in rooting-incompetent shoots. This study focuses on the regulation of CsSCL1 during maturation and the role of the gene in the formation of AR. The expression of CsSCL1 in rooting-incompetent microshoots and other tissues was investigated by quantitative reverse transcriptase--polymerase chain reaction. The analysis was complemented by in situ hybridization of the basal segments of rooting-competent and --incompetent microshoots during AR induction, as well as in AR and lateral roots. It was found that CsSCL1 is upregulated by auxin in a cell-type- and phase-dependent manner during the induction of AR. In root-forming shoots, CsSCL1 mRNA was specifically located in the cambial zone and derivative cells, which are rooting-competent cells, whereas in rooting-incompetent shoots the hybridization signal was more diffuse and evenly distributed through the phloem and parenchyma. CsSCL1 expression was also detected in lateral roots and axillary buds. The different CsSCL1 expression patterns in rooting-competent and -incompetent microshoots, together with the specific location of transcripts in cell types involved in root meristem initiation and in the root primordia of AR and lateral roots, indicate an important role for the gene in determining whether certain cells will enter the root differentiation pathway and its involvement in meristem maintenance.
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