researchers of the Leloir Institute Foundation (FIL) and the Faculty of Biological Sciences of Hunan University, in China, determined the molecular mechanism of plant roots responsible for absorbing water and nutrients, called root hairs, with the aim of developing “super-adaptable” plants to adverse environmental conditions, they reported today.
“We identified that the plants subjected to 10 degrees presented an exacerbated growth of the length of the root hairs similar to that produced by conditions of low levels of phosphate and nitrate, which drive them to find concentrations of these nutrients to allow plant development; then, We hypothesize that low temperature affects the availability and mobility of nutrients and water towards the root that promotes hair growth,” he explained to the CyTA-Leloir Agency the doctor in Biology José Manuel Estévez, head of the Molecular Bases of Plant Development Laboratory of the FIL.
For the biologist, this research can favor the development of commercial crops, and is “a key finding for thinking about solutions to the effects of climate change.”
The researchers lThey were able to determine the molecular mechanism by which plant root hairs become more extensive under conditions of low temperature and nutrient deficiency.
“This lays the foundations for the development of super-adaptable plants, with longer hairs that allow greater absorption of nutrients in unfavorable conditions, thus promoting the development and growth of the root and of the plant in general,” said Estévez, who indicated that “One of the peculiar traits of root hairs is that they can grow several hundred times their original size.”
For this reason, the scientists subjected different specimens of genetically modified plants to various temperature treatments and low levels of nutrients and managed to identify three proteins with an active role in this mechanism that allows root hair growth: the membrane receptor Feronia, the TOR kinase complex, and the GTPase ROP2 protein.