Branching out in new directions: the control of root architecture by lateral root formation


Author for correspondence:
J. C. Coates
Tel:+44 121 414 5478
Fax:+44 121 414 5925



Summary 595
II.Formation of lateral roots596
III.Endogenous factors regulating the stages of lateral root development597
IV.Plasticity: modification of lateral root development by the environment603
V. Transcriptomic studies to identify potential new regulators of lateral root development608
VI.Conclusions and future challenges608


Plant roots are required for the acquisition of water and nutrients, for responses to abiotic and biotic signals in the soil, and to anchor the plant in the ground. Controlling plant root architecture is a fundamental part of plant development and evolution, enabling a plant to respond to changing environmental conditions and allowing plants to survive in different ecological niches. Variations in the size, shape and surface area of plant root systems are brought about largely by variations in root branching. Much is known about how root branching is controlled both by intracellular signalling pathays and by environmental signals. Here, we will review this knowledge, with particular emphasis on recent advances in the field that open new and exciting areas of research.