Hydropatterning: a novel root adaptive response

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Sch of Biosciences


Understanding the regulation of root branching is of vital agronomic importance as it determines the efficiency of water uptake and nutrient acquisition. By using microCT imaging, we recently observed that the distribution of water in soil profoundly influences root branching. Plants achieve this via a novel mechanism termed 'hydropatterning' by our US collaborator Jose Dinneny (Bao et al, PNAS, 2014), where lateral roots (LR) form on the side of the main root in contact with water, but rarely on the dry side. LR hydropatterning occurs in both dicot and monocot roots and therefore appears to be a highly conserved adaptive trait. Mutant studies in Arabidopsis revealed that LR hydropatterning is dependent on the auxin response (transcription) factor ARF7. This project investigates whether LR hydropatterning is dependent on ARF7 (and its target genes) and whether this is a highly conserved mechanism in land plants using genetic and microCT imaging approaches, respectively.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M008770/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
1645223 Studentship BB/M008770/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2019 Emily Morris
Description Collaboration with Xavier Drayes lab 
Organisation Catholic University of Louvain
Country Belgium 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution I have been working with Xavier Draye's lab work from the Université catholique de Louvain in Belgium. Collaborations are occurring over two different topics. First I have completed experiments and provided data to a project started by Drayes group. They have provided me with resources necessary to do these experiments. The equipment for these experiments is unique to Nottingham so they could not complete it by themselves. This collaboration has allowed us to write a manuscript that we plan to submit soon. Secondly, I am conducting experimental work to help modelling work that is being completed by a post-doc in their lab. My work has helped to validate his models.
Collaborator Contribution For the first project mentioned our partners have done the majority of genetic work while I have completed the phenotyping. Secondly, our partners have provided expertise in modelling that we did not possess in our lab group.
Impact First project= The main output is a manuscript that has not been submitted yet. Second project is multi disciplinary so the main output is that we are about to use modelling in a way that would have been impossible without the collaboration.
Start Year 2016