Effects of artemisinin on root gravitropic response and root system development in Arabidopsis thaliana

  • Zhiqiang Yan
  • Dandan Wang
  • Haiyan Cui
  • Yuhe Sun
  • Xiaoyan Yang
  • Hui Jin
  • Yuhui Zhao
  • Xiuzhuang Li
  • Min Xie
  • Jingkun Liu
  • Bo Qin
Original paper


Artemisinin, an antimalarial secondary metabolite produced in Artemisia species, also has been recognized as an allelochemical that inhibits the growth of several plant species. However, the phytotoxicity mechanism of artemisinin is not exhaustively deciphered up to now. In this research, the effects of artemisinin on Arabidopsis thaliana root gravitropic curvature and development were characterized. Exogenously applied artemisinin disturb the root gravitropic responses, inhibited the elongation of primary and lateral roots and root hairs in a concentration-dependent fashion, and prevented the formation of lateral roots and root hairs. Moreover, the number of starch grain and the distribution range of auxin in the root tip was reduced by artemisinin, and the redistribution of auxin was less sensitive to gravity stimulus when treated with artemisinin than that of control. The expression of auxin transporter PIN2 was partially suppressed by artemisinin. Together, the results demonstrated that the effects of artemisinin on root gravitropism and root system development were largely dependent on the reduction of starch grain and auxin levels, as well as the disordered lateral auxin redistribution.


Arabidopsis thaliana Artemisinin Auxin Gravitropism Root development Starch grain 



Dimethyl sulphoxide


Median effective dose


Murashige and Skoog


Primary root


Lateral root


Lateral root primordia


Reactive oxygen species


Root system architecture



This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31300290, 31570354 and 21302195), CAS “Light of West China” Program, The Science Foundations of Gansu Province (17JR5RA301), The Youth Science Foundations of Gansu Province (1506RJYA294) and 135 major breakthrough project of Chinese Academy of Sciences.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhiqiang Yan
    • 1
  • Dandan Wang
    • 1
  • Haiyan Cui
    • 2
  • Yuhe Sun
    • 3
  • Xiaoyan Yang
    • 1
  • Hui Jin
    • 1
  • Yuhui Zhao
    • 4
  • Xiuzhuang Li
    • 1
  • Min Xie
    • 1
  • Jingkun Liu
    • 1
  • Bo Qin
    • 1
  1. 1.CAS Key Laboratory of Chemistry of Northwestern Plant Resources and Key Laboratory for Natural Medicine of Gansu Province, Lanzhou Institute of Chemical PhysicsChinese Academy of SciencesLanzhouChina
  2. 2.School of Forensic MedicineShanxi Medical UniversityTaiyuanChina
  3. 3.Key Laboratory for Tobacco Gene Resources, Institute of Tobacco ResearchChinese Academy of Agricultural SciencesQingdaoChina
  4. 4.Institute of BiologyGansu Academy of SciencesLanzhouChina

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