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Plant Signal Behav. 2009 Jan;4(1):4-8.

New findings in the mechanisms regulating polar growth in root hair cells.

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Departamento de Biología Molecular de Plantas, Instituto de Biotecnología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Cuernavaca, Morelos, México.


Root hairs cells are highly polarized cellular structures resulting from tip growth of specific root epidermal cells. Root-hair morphogenesis involves many aspects regulating tip growth such as exocytosis, ion flux, calcium homeostasis, reactive oxygen species (ROS), and cytoskeleton. These cells are excellent models for studying polar growth and can be challenged with many extracellular factors affecting the pattern of growth named Nod factors, elicitors, hormones, etc. The general scenery is that the well described tip-high intracellular Ca(2+) gradient plays a central role in regulating tip growth. On the other hand, ROS plays a key role in various processes, for example hypersensitive response, root hair development, hormone action, gravitropism and stress responses. However, ROS has recently emerged as a key player together with calcium in regulating polar growth, not only in root hair cells but also in pollen tubes, filamentous fungi and fucoid cells. Furthermore, Ca(2+)-permeable channel modulation by ROS has been demonstrated in Vicia faba guard cells and Arabidopsis root hairs. Recently, root hair cells were shown to experiment ROS, pH and calcium oscillations coupled to growth oscillation. These recent findings allow considering that root hair cells present a similar pattern of growth as described for pollen tubes.


NADPH oxidase; calcium; cell wall; polar growth; reactive oxygen species; root hairs

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