As sessile organisms, root plasticity enables plants to forage for and acquire nutrients in afluctuating underground environment.Here,we use genetic and genomic approaches in a "split-root" framework - in which physically isolated root systems of the same plant are challengedwith different nitrogen (N) environments - to investigate how systemic signaling affects genome-wide reprogramming and root development. The integration of transcriptome and root phenotypes enables us to identify distinct mechanisms underlying "N economy"(i.e.,Nsupply and demand) of plants as a system.Under nitrate-limited conditions, plant roots adopt an "active-foraging strategy", characterized by lateral root outgrowth and a shared pattern of transcriptome reprogramming, in response to either local or distal nitrate deprivation. By contrast, in nitrate-replete conditions, plant roots adopt a "dormant strategy", characterized by a repression of lateral root outgrowth and a shared pattern of transcriptome reprogramming, in response to either local or distal nitrate supply. Sentinel genes responding to systemic N signaling identified by genome-wide comparisons of heterogeneous vs. homogeneous split-root N treatments were used to probe systemic N responses in Arabidopsis mutants impaired in nitrate reduction and hormone synthesis and also in decapitated plants. This combined analysis identified genetically distinct systemic signaling underlying plant N economy: (i) N supply, corresponding to a long-distance systemic signaling triggered by nitrate sensing; and (ii) N demand, experimental support for the transitive closure of a previously inferred nitrate-cytokinin shoot-root relay system that reports the nitrate demand of the whole plant, promoting a compensatory root growth in nitrate-rich patches of heterogeneous soil.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Nov 8 2011|
- Root morphology
- Systems analysis
ASJC Scopus subject areas