Plant Cell Reports

, Volume 30, Issue 5, pp 807–823

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

  • Michel Edmond Ghanem
  • Imène Hichri
  • Ann C. Smigocki
  • Alfonso Albacete
  • Marie-Laure Fauconnier
  • Eugene Diatloff
  • Cristina Martinez-Andujar
  • Stanley Lutts
  • Ian C. Dodd
  • Francisco Pérez-Alfocea


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 stress Root-to-shoot signalling ABA Cytokinins ACC Grafting IPT Plant growth promoting rhizobacterium 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michel Edmond Ghanem
    • 1
    • 2
  • Imène Hichri
    • 1
  • Ann C. Smigocki
    • 3
  • Alfonso Albacete
    • 2
    • 7
  • Marie-Laure Fauconnier
    • 4
  • Eugene Diatloff
    • 5
  • Cristina Martinez-Andujar
    • 2
    • 8
  • Stanley Lutts
    • 1
  • Ian C. Dodd
    • 6
  • Francisco Pérez-Alfocea
    • 2
  1. 1.Groupe de Recherche en Physiologie végétale (GRPV), Earth and Life Institute (ELI-A)Université catholique de Louvain (UCL)Louvain-la-NeuveBelgium
  2. 2.CEBAS-CSIC, Campus de EspinardoEspinardoSpain
  3. 3.Molecular Plant Pathology LaboratoryUSDA, ARSBeltsvilleUSA
  4. 4.Plant Biology UnitUniversity of Liège Gembloux Agro-Bio TechGemblouxBelgium
  5. 5.Institut Jean-Pierre Bourgin, UMR 1318 INRA-AgroParisTech, Institut National de la Recherche AgronomiqueVersaillesFrance
  6. 6.The Lancaster Environment CentreLancaster UniversityLancasterUK
  7. 7.Institute of Plant SciencesKarl-Franzens-University of GrazGrazAustria
  8. 8.Department of Horticulture-Seed BiologyOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA

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