Editors' ChoicePlant biology

Getting to the Root of a Root Problem

Sci. Signal.  21 Oct 2014:
Vol. 7, Issue 348, pp. ec298
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aaa0997

Although a plant's root system reaches through the soil in search of nutrients, its search is not indiscriminate. If some section of the root is unable to deliver the amount of nitrogen that the rest of the plant demands, other sections of the root compensate and ramp up their delivery of nitrogen. Tabata et al. have now found a small peptide that delivers a signal involved in this process (see the Perspective by Bisseling and Scheres). Only with perception of the signal by the matching receptor in the shoot can the root system compensate for unproductive members.

R. Tabata, K. Sumida, T. Yoshii, K. Ohyama, H. Shinohara, Y. Matsubayashi, Perception of root-derived peptides by shoot LRR-RKs mediates systemic N-demand signaling. Science 346, 343–346 (2014). [Abstract] [Full Text]

T. Bisseling, B. Scheres, Nutrient computation for root architecture. Science 346, 300–301 (2014). [Abstract] [Full Text]