Low phosphorus availability stimulates root hair elongation in many plants, which may have adaptive significance in soil phosphorus acquisition. We investigated the effect of low phosphorus on the elongation of Arabidopsis thaliana root hairs. Arabidopsis thaliana plants were grown in plant culture containing high (1000 mmol m−3) or low (1 mmol m−3) phosphorus concentrations, and root hair elongation was analysed by image analysis. After 15d of growth, low-phosphorus plants developed root hairs averaging 0.9 mm in length while high-phosphorus plants of the same age developed root hairs averaging 0.3 mm in length. Increased root hair length in low-phosphorus plants was a result of both increased growth duration and increased growth rate. Root hair length decreased logarithmically in response to increasing phosphorus concentration. Local changes in phosphorus availability influenced root hair growth regardless of the phosphorus status of the plant. Low phosphorus stimulated root hair elongation in the hairless axr2 mutant, exogenously applied IAA stimulated root hair elongation in wild-type high-phosphorus plants and the auxin antagonist CM PA inhibited root hair elongation in low-phosphorus plants. These results indicate that auxin may be involved in the low-phosphorus response in root hairs.
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