Mild salinity stimulates a stress-induced morphogenic response in Arabidopsis thaliana roots

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146 Scopus citations

Abstract

Plant roots exhibit remarkable developmental plasticity in response to local soil conditions. It is shown here that mild salt stress stimulates a stress-induced morphogenic response (SIMR) in Arabidopsis thaliana roots characteristic of several other abiotic stresses: the proliferation of lateral roots (LRs) with a concomitant reduction in LR and primary root length. The LR proliferation component of the salt SIMR is dramatically enhanced by the transfer of seedlings from a low to a high NO-3medium, thereby compensating for the decreased LR length and maintaining overall LR surface area. Increased LR proliferation is specific to salt stress (osmotic stress alone has no stimulatory effect) and is due to the progression of more LR primordia from the pre-emergence to the emergence stage, in salt-stressed plants. In salt-stressed seedlings, greater numbers of LR primordia exhibit expression of a reporter gene driven by the auxin-sensitive DR5 promoter than in unstressed seedlings. Moreover, in the auxin transporter mutant aux1-7, the LR proliferation component of the salt SIMR is completely abrogated. The results suggest that salt stress promotes auxin accumulation in developing primordia thereby preventing their developmental arrest at the pre-emergence stage. Examination of ABA and ethylene mutants revealed that ABA synthesis and a factor involved in the ethylene signalling network also regulate the LR proliferation component of the salt SIMR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-224
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Volume61
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2010

Keywords

  • ABA
  • Arabidopsis thaliana
  • Auxin
  • Lateral root
  • SIMR
  • Salt stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science

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