Plant Cell Reports

, Volume 30, Issue 5, pp 807–823

Root-targeted biotechnology to mediate hormonal signalling and improve crop stress tolerance


    • Groupe de Recherche en Physiologie végétale (GRPV), Earth and Life Institute (ELI-A)Université catholique de Louvain (UCL)
    • CEBAS-CSIC, Campus de Espinardo
  • Imène Hichri
    • Groupe de Recherche en Physiologie végétale (GRPV), Earth and Life Institute (ELI-A)Université catholique de Louvain (UCL)
  • Ann C. Smigocki
    • Molecular Plant Pathology LaboratoryUSDA, ARS
  • Alfonso Albacete
    • CEBAS-CSIC, Campus de Espinardo
    • Institute of Plant SciencesKarl-Franzens-University of Graz
  • Marie-Laure Fauconnier
    • Plant Biology UnitUniversity of Liège Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech
  • Eugene Diatloff
    • Institut Jean-Pierre Bourgin, UMR 1318 INRA-AgroParisTech, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique
  • Cristina Martinez-Andujar
    • CEBAS-CSIC, Campus de Espinardo
    • Department of Horticulture-Seed BiologyOregon State University
  • Stanley Lutts
    • Groupe de Recherche en Physiologie végétale (GRPV), Earth and Life Institute (ELI-A)Université catholique de Louvain (UCL)
  • Ian C. Dodd
    • The Lancaster Environment CentreLancaster University
  • Francisco Pérez-Alfocea
    • CEBAS-CSIC, Campus de Espinardo

DOI: 10.1007/s00299-011-1005-2

Cite this article as:
Ghanem, M.E., Hichri, I., Smigocki, A.C. et al. Plant Cell Rep (2011) 30: 807. doi:10.1007/s00299-011-1005-2


Since plant root systems capture both water and nutrients essential for the formation of crop yield, there has been renewed biotechnological focus on root system improvement. Although water and nutrient uptake can be facilitated by membrane proteins known as aquaporins and nutrient transporters, respectively, there is a little evidence that root-localised overexpression of these proteins improves plant growth or stress tolerance. Recent work suggests that the major classes of phytohormones are involved not only in regulating aquaporin and nutrient transporter expression and activity, but also in sculpting root system architecture. Root-specific expression of plant and bacterial phytohormone-related genes, using either root-specific or root-inducible promoters or grafting non-transformed plants onto constitutive hormone producing rootstocks, has examined the role of root hormone production in mediating crop stress tolerance. Root-specific traits such as root system architecture, sensing of edaphic stress and root-to-shoot communication can be exploited to improve resource (water and nutrients) capture and plant development under resource-limited conditions. Thus, root system engineering provides new opportunities to maintain sustainable crop production under changing environmental conditions.


Abiotic stressRoot-to-shoot signallingABACytokininsACCGraftingIPTPlant growth promoting rhizobacterium

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011