Author(s): Massa GD, Gilroy S, Massa GD, Gilroy S
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Abstract Plants must sense and respond to diverse stimuli to optimize the architecture of their root system for water and nutrient scavenging and anchorage. We have therefore analyzed how information from two of these stimuli, touch and gravity, are integrated to direct root growth. In Arabidopsis thaliana, touch stimulation provided by a glass barrier placed across the direction of growth caused the root to form a step-like growth habit with bends forming in the central and later the distal elongation zones. This response led to the main root axis growing parallel to, but not touching the obstacle, whilst the root cap maintained contact with the barrier. Removal of the graviperceptive columella cells of the root cap using laser ablation reduced the bending response of the distal elongation zone. Similarly, although the roots of the gravisensing impaired pgm1-1 mutant grew along the barrier at the same average angle as wild-type, this angle became more variable with time. These observations imply a constant gravitropic re-setting of the root tip response to touch stimulation from the barrier. In wild-type plants, transient touch stimulation of root cap cells, but not other regions of the root, inhibited both subsequent gravitropic growth and amyloplast sedimentation in the columella. Taken together, these results suggest that the cells of the root cap sense touch stimuli and their subsequent signaling acts on the columella cells to modulate their graviresponse. This interaction of touch and gravity signaling would then direct root growth to avoid obstacles in the soil while generally maintaining downward growth.
This article was published in Plant J
and referenced in Journal of Biodiversity, Bioprospecting and Development