Biotech Updates

Researchers Identify Core Mechanism for Root Growth

September 10, 2014

Academy of Finland Research Fellow Ari Pekka Mähönen and his colleagues at the University of Helsinki have demonstrated how PLETHORA proteins and plant hormone auxin orchestrate root growth.

Auxin takes care of many aspects of root growth. If there is enough PLETHORA in the root cells, auxin affects the rate of root cell division. If there is little or no PLETHORA in the cells, auxin regulates cell differentiation and elongation. In addition to this direct, rapid regulation, auxin also regulates cell division, expansion and differentiation indirectly and slowly by promoting PLETHORA transcription. This dual action of auxin keeps the structure and growth of the root very stable. Mähönen and the research team found that as PLETHORA levels gradually diminish starting from the root tip upwards, the cell division, elongation, and differentiation zones are created. This inner organization stays even if the growth direction of the root changes.

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