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Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2014 Oct;21:30-36. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2014.06.004. Epub 2014 Jul 3.

Nitrogen signalling pathways shaping root system architecture: an update.

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Lancaster Environment Centre, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YQ, UK. Electronic address:


Root system architecture is a fundamentally important trait for resource acquisition in both ecological and agronomic contexts. Because of the plasticity of root development and the almost infinite complexity of the soil, root system architecture is shaped by environmental factors to a much greater degree than shoot architecture. In attempting to understand how roots sense and respond to environmental cues, the striking effects of nitrate and other forms of nitrogen on root growth and branching have received particular attention. This minireview focuses on the latest advances in our understanding of the diverse nitrogen signalling pathways that are now known to act at multiple stages in the process of lateral root development, as well as on primary root growth.

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