About this Research Topic
Plants need to constantly modify their growth and development to adapt to the ever-changing conditions and thus optimize the use of available resources. Over millions of years of evolution, plants have developed sophisticated mechanisms that allow them to integrate the information from external stimuli with their own internal programs to generate appropriate developmental outputs. Plant hormones act as signals in this integration process and contribute to the extraordinary plant morphological plasticity.
The root system is a key determinant of plant development, exploring uncharted territory in the soil and serving as an interface between plant and rhizosphere. The roots enable the selective uptake of water and nutrients whereas exclude phytotoxic compounds. All these functions are maximized by the root morphological plasticity. The root anatomy is defined by regular patterns originated by cell division in the root apical meristem and consecutive cell differentiation that result in the different tissues composing the root. Due to these remarkable regular patterns, the root is an exceptionally useful system to study the effects of hormones on growth and development.
Changes in plant hormone homeostasis via synthesis, modification, catabolism and transport as well as the modulation of signaling components are key for a tunable and resettable hormone response system that controls root growth and development. Additional layers of fine-tuning are achieved by the intense cross-talk between different plant hormones at various levels.
Phytohormones affect every stage of plant development including agriculturally important processes. Therefore, understanding how particular hormones and gene expression networks interact to coordinate root growth and development in a dynamic environment is essential, not only for developmental biology but also for the design of the next generation of crops coping with current agricultural challenges such as increasing food demand and climate change.
Thus, submissions of Original Research, Reviews, and Opinion articles bringing together different levels of root development regulation are welcome. This Research Topic includes, but is not limited to, the following issues:
- Genetic analysis of key molecular pathways that influence initiation, development, and elongation of primary and secondary roots.
- Characterization of responses to environmental stimuli that shape root architecture. Biotic interactions with pathogens, as well as symbiotic associations with microbes, mycorrhiza, and rhizobia are key determinants of the root system. Abiotic cues such as water and nutrient availability, gravity, light, and stress caused by toxic compounds or drought are major factors for root development.
- Evaluation of complex molecular interactions and gene regulatory networks orchestrating root development. Systems-biology approaches studying the effects of hormone homeostasis and cross-talk on the root.
- Bioinformatics, computational, and statistical resources providing new perspectives on root-phenotyping aiming to understand the genetic and environmental control of different root features.
- Translational research, identification of specific root traits selected through natural selection or crop breeding with the goal of capitalize on root architecture variation to develop stress-tolerant, nutritious, high-yielding crops with improved root systems.
Keywords: Hormones, Plant Development, Root, Plant Growth, Architecture
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