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Gravit Space Biol Bull. 1998 May;11(2):71-8.

Molecular genetics of root gravitropism and waving in Arabidopsis thaliana.

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Laboratory of Genetics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA.
U WI, Madison


When Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings grow embedded in an agar-based medium, their roots grow vertically downward. This reflects their ability to sense the gravity vector and to position their tip parallel to it (gravitropism). We have isolated a number of mutations affecting root gravitropism in Arabidopsis thaliana. One of these mutations, named arg1, affects root and hypocotyl gravitropism without promoting defects in starch content or in the ability of seedlings' organs to respond to plant hormones. The ARG1 gene was cloned and shown to code for a protein with a J domain at its amino terminus and a second sequence motif found in several cytoskeleton binding proteins. Mutations in the AGR1 locus promote a strong defect in root gravitropism. Some alleles also confer an increased root resistance to exogenous ethylene and an increased sensitivity to auxin. AGR1 was cloned and found to encode a putative transmembrane protein which might be involved in polar auxin transport, or in regulating the differential growth response to gravistimulation. When Arabidopsis seedlings grow on the surface of agar-based media tilted backward, their roots wave. That wavy pattern of root growth derives from a combined response to gravity, touch and other surface-derived stimuli. It is accompanied by a reversible rotation of the root tip about its axis. A number of mutations affect the presence or the shape of root waves on tilted agar-based surfaces. One of them, wvc1, promotes the formation of compressed root waves under these conditions. The physiological and molecular analyses of this mutant suggest that a tryptophan-derived molecule other than IAA might be an important regulator of the curvature responsible for root waving.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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