About this Research Topic
Roots provide anchorage, water and minerals, but render plants immobile. Responses to unfavorable conditions must therefore be mediated by changes in physiology and growth. Accordingly, plants are able to continuously sense and respond to changes in their environment, making their development very sensitive to both biotic and abiotic factors. Below the soil surface, there are myriad of soil-mediated environmental stimuli which influence root system architecture. For example, root growth ceases upon phosphorus scarcity, but when experiencing drought, plants develop a longer primary root to allow soil exploration to a greater depth. Mechanical stimuli also regulate plant root architecture by controlling the positioning of lateral roots. Soil microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi also strongly influence root system architecture through symbiotic and pathogenic interactions. This adaptive growth is a key feature of plant development.
From an ecological perspective, responses to the environment are certainly adapted to the niche in which a plant lives, whether it be rapid growth in conducive conditions or to sustained growth in adverse conditions. How do different species regulate and integrate environmental growth responses? How do these responses compare in r-selected species (such as Arabidopsis), which are adapted for rapid invasive growth in favorable conditions, and K-selected species (such as poplar), which are adapted to highly efficient growth in stable conditions? Do these strategies have any clear differences? Can we find clues by comparing characteristic responses of K- and r-selected species to abiotic stresses on cellular scales? To what extent do the responses of either group reflect a general response to stress, common responses to linked conditions or highly specialized responses to specific signals?
This Research Topic will gather a group of studies which focus on the response of roots to specific environmental stresses, and aim to answer these questions by comparing responses to specific environmental conditions between species, examining to what extent they have similarities on a molecular level. This research topic therefore aims at summarizing the progress in the field, focusing on the sensing and the integration of soil stimuli by plant roots.
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