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Am J Bot. 2013 Jan;100(1):25-34. doi: 10.3732/ajb.1200419. Epub 2012 Dec 21.

Molecular mechanisms of hydrotropism in seedling roots of Arabidopsis thaliana (Brassicaceae).

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Graduate School of Life Sciences, Tohoku University, 2-1-1 Katahira, Aoba-ku, Sendai 980-8577, Japan.


Roots show positive hydrotropism in response to moisture gradients, which is believed to contribute to plant water acquisition. This article reviews the recent advances of the physiological and molecular genetic studies on hydrotropism in seedling roots of Arabidopsis thaliana. We identified MIZU-KUSSEI1 (MIZ1) and MIZ2, essential genes for hydrotropism in roots; the former encodes a protein of unknown function, and the latter encodes an ARF-GEF (GNOM) protein involved in vesicle trafficking. Because both mutants are defective in hydrotropism but not in gravitropism, these mutations might affect a molecular mechanism unique to hydrotropism. MIZ1 is expressed in the lateral root cap and cortex of the root proper. It is localized as a soluble protein in the cytoplasm and in association with the cytoplasmic face of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membranes in root cells. Light and ABA independently regulate MIZ1 expression, which influences the ultimate hydrotropic response. In addition, MIZ1 overexpression results in an enhancement of hydrotropism and an inhibition of lateral root formation. This phenotype is likely related to the alteration of auxin content in roots. Specifically, the auxin level in the roots decreases in the MIZ1 overexpressor and increases in the miz1 mutant. Unlike most gnom mutants, miz2 displays normal morphology, growth, and gravitropism, with normal localization of PIN proteins. It is probable that MIZ1 plays a crucial role in hydrotropic response by regulating the endogenous level of auxin in Arabidopsis roots. Furthermore, the role of GNOM/MIZ2 in hydrotropism is distinct from that of gravitropism.

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