Zaigham Shahzad and his research director Christophe Maurel
Biochimie et Physiologie Moléculaire des Plantes, UMR5004, INRA/CNRS/Montpellier SupAgro/Université Montpellier, Montpellier

How Roots Perceive and Respond to Flooding

Roots are essential for the growth and survival of terrestrial plants, allowing them to absorb water and nutrients from the soil. Although hidden from view, the roots are exposed to multiple environmental constraints. For example, flooding reduces the diffusion of gases into the soil, inducing oxygen deficiency (hypoxia) and a severe metabolic stress for the root system. Using natural isolates of the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, this work allowed to identify a gene that reduces the water permeability of roots under hypoxia. Named HCR1, this gene interferes with oxygen perception in cells and triggers metabolic responses that contribute to the plant’s resilience to flooding. However, HCR1 functions only when the soil is rich in potassium, a mineral salt essential for plant growth. Indeed, these conditions are favorable to a better recovery once the flood has passed. This work reveals a unique ability of plants to perceive and adapt to multiple constraints of the environment.


Programme & abstracts: pdf

Zaigham Shahzad, Matthieu Canut, Colette Tournaire-Roux, Alexandre Martinière, Yann Boursiac, Olivier Loudet, Christophe Maurel✉ (Sep 2016) A potassium-dependent oxygen sensing pathway regulates plant root hydraulics. Cell 167(1):87-98.e14

Press release: CNRS, INRA