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Plant Physiol. 2001 Jun;126(2):875-82.

Phosphate availability regulates root system architecture in Arabidopsis.

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Department of Biology, University of York, Box 373, York YO10 5YW, United Kingdom.


Plant root systems are highly plastic in their development and can adapt their architecture in response to the prevailing environmental conditions. One important parameter is the availability of phosphate, which is highly immobile in soil such that the arrangement of roots within the soil will profoundly affect the ability of the plant to acquire this essential nutrient. Consistent with this, the availability of phosphate was found to have a marked effect on the root system architecture of Arabidopsis. Low phosphate availability favored lateral root growth over primary root growth, through increased lateral root density and length, and reduced primary root growth mediated by reduced cell elongation. The ability of the root system to respond to phosphate availability was found to be independent of sucrose supply and auxin signaling. In contrast, shoot phosphate status was found to influence the root system architecture response to phosphate availability.

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