Excess nutrients suppress root hair growth

June 18, 2022

Unveiling the mechanisms by which plants boldly control their growth in response to the environment

A joint research team from the RIKEN CSRS and the Nara Institute of Science and Technology has discovered that Arabidopsis thaliana strongly suppresses the growth of root hairs in excess nutrient environments and has clarified the mechanism behind this suppression.

Root hairs are hair-like tissues that grow on the surface of plant roots. By increasing the surface area of the roots, they serve the function of efficiently absorbing water and nutrients from the soil. Plants are considered to control the amount of nutrients absorbed from the soil by regulating the length of their root hairs. Its detailed molecular mechanism, however, has not been understood.

Using Arabidopsis thaliana as a model plant, the joint research team analyzed the response of root hairs under nutrient-rich conditions. They found that Arabidopsis thaliana hardly formed root hairs when the amount of nutrients in the normal growth medium was increased by merely twofold (fourfold compared to the control in this study). Furthermore, the team found that a double-deficient mutant of the transcription factors GTL1 and DF1 as suppressors of root hair growth produced abnormal root hairs because the suppressive function did not work properly. These results indicate that Arabidopsis suppresses the growth of unneeded root hairs through the function of GTL1 and DF1 under excess nutrient conditions.

The results of this research are expected to develop technologies for producing plants adapted not only to nutrient starvation conditions but also to excess nutrient conditions.

Original article
New Phytologist doi:10.1111/nph.18255
M. Shibata, D. S. Favero, R. Takebayashi, A. Takebayashi, A. Kawamura, B. Rymen, Y. Hosokawa, K. Sugimoto,
"Trihelix transcription factors GTL1 and DF1 prevent aberrant root hair formation in an excess nutrient condition".
Keiko Sugimoto; Team Leader
Michitaro Shibata; Research Scientist
David S. Favero; Research Scientist
Cell Function Research Team