Biometals : an international journal on the role of metal ions in biology, biochemistry, and medicine

Chromate induces adventitious root formation via auxin signalling and SOLITARY-ROOT/IAA14 gene function in Arabidopsis thaliana.

PMID 25702099


Morphological root plasticity optimizes nutrient and water uptake by plants and is a promising target to improve tolerance to metal toxicity. Exposure to sublethal chromate [Cr(VI)] concentrations inhibits root growth, decreases photosynthesis and compromises plant development and productivity. Despite the increasing environmental problem that Cr(VI) represents, to date, the Cr tolerance mechanisms of plants are not well understood, and it remains to be investigated whether root architecture remodelling is important for plant adaptation to Cr(VI) stress. In this report, we analysed the growth response of Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings to concentrations of Cr(VI) that strongly repress primary and lateral root growth. Interestingly, adventitious roots started developing, branched and allowed seedlings to grow under highly growth-repressing Cr(VI) concentrations. Cr(VI) negatively regulates auxin transport and response gene expression in the primary root tip, as evidenced by decreased expression of auxin-related reporters DR5::GFP, DR5::uidA and PIN1::PIN1::GFP, and then, another auxin maximum is established at the site of adventitious root initiation that drives adventitious root organogenesis. Both primary root growth inhibition and adventitious root formation induced by high Cr(VI) levels are blocked by a gain-of-function mutation in the SOLITARY-ROOT/IAA14 gene of Arabidopsis. These data provide evidence that suggests a critical role for auxin transport and signalling via IAA14/SLR1 in the developmental program linking Cr(VI) to root architecture remodelling.

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