Journal Article

Tall or short? Slender or thick? A plant strategy for regulating elongation growth of roots by low concentrations of gibberellin

Eiichi Tanimoto

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 110, issue 2, pages 373-381
Published in print July 2012 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online March 2012 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcs049
Tall or short? Slender or thick? A plant strategy for regulating elongation growth of roots by low concentrations of gibberellin

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  • Evolutionary Biology
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Background

Since the plant hormone gibberellin (GA) was discovered as a fungal toxin that caused abnormal elongation of rice shoots, the physiological function of GA has mainly been investigated in relation to the regulation of plant height. However, an indispensable role for GA in root growth has been elucidated by using severely GA-depleted plants, either with a gene mutation in GA biosynthesis or which have been treated by an inhibitor of GA biosynthesis. The molecular sequence of GA signalling has also been studied to understand GA functions in root growth.

Scope

This review addresses research progress on the physiological functions of GA in root growth. Concentration-dependent stimulation of elongation growth by GA is important for the regulation of plant height and root length. Thus the endogenous level of GA and/or the GA sensitivity of shoots and roots plays a role in determining the shoot-to-root ratio of the plant body. Since the shoot-to-root ratio is an important parameter for agricultural production, control of GA production and GA sensitivity may provide a strategy for improving agricultural productivity. The sequence of GA signal transduction has recently been unveiled, and some component molecules are suggested as candidate in planta regulatory sites and as points for the artificial manipulation of GA-mediated growth control.

Conclusions

This paper reviews: (1) the breakthrough dose–response experiments that show that root growth is regulated by GA in a lower concentration range than is required for shoot growth; (2) research on the regulation of GA biosynthesis pathways that are known predominantly to control shoot growth; and (3) recent research on GA signalling pathways, including GA receptors, which have been suggested to participate in GA-mediated growth regulation. This provides useful information to suggest a possible strategy for the selective control of shoot and root growth, and to explain how GA plays a role in rosette and liana plants with tall or short, and slender or thick axial organs.

Keywords: Ancymidol; GA receptors; GA sensitivity; gibberellin; GID1; Lactuca sativa; low concentration of GA; Pisum sativum; root elongation; root thickening; rosette form; shoot-to-root ratio

Journal Article.  4417 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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