Hormonal interactions during root tropic growth: hydrotropism versus gravitropism
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Terrestrial plants have evolved remarkable morphological plasticity that enables them to adapt to their surroundings. One of the most important traits that plants have acquired is the ability to sense environmental cues and use them as a basis for governing their growth orientation. The directional growth of plant organs relative to the direction of environmental stimuli is a tropism. The Cholodny–Went theory proposes that auxin plays a key role in several tropisms. Recent molecular genetic studies have strongly supported this hypothesis for gravitropism. However, the molecular mechanisms of other tropisms are far less clear. Hydrotropism is the response of roots to a moisture gradient. Since its re-discovery in 1985, root hydrotropism has been shown to be common among higher plant species. Additionally, in some species, gravitropism interferes with hydrotropism, suggesting that both shared and divergent mechanisms mediating the two tropisms exist. This hypothesis has been supported by recent studies, which provide an understanding of how roots sense multiple environmental cues and exhibit different tropic responses. In this review, we focus on the overlapping and unique mechanisms of the hormonal regulation underlying gravitropism and hydrotropism in roots.