The periderm, similar to the vascular system, comprises three tissues: the phellogen/cork cambium (a post-embryonic meristem) that produces inward the phelloderm and outward the phellem/cork. The barrier property of the periderm is conferred by the phellem, which is lignified and suberized. Phellem chemistry has been mainly studied in potato and cork oak due to its economic relevance, impacting potato conservation/production and the quality of cork in its application as wine-stoppers and insulating/building materials. For instance, a variety of potato resistant to common scab displays more periderm layers and increased suberin deposition in the periderm. In spite of the economical and agronomical importance, the molecular network underlying periderm establishment is largely unknown.
Our goal is to shed light on the molecular mechanisms regulating periderm development. Understanding the network underlying cork cambium formation/activity and cork maturation/ differentiation will pave the way for obtaining plants resistant to heat, drought and pathogens. Elucidating how cork cambium activity and vascular cambium activity are interconnected will help breeding programs for biomass/wood improvement.