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Quantitative dissection of variations in root growth rate

18 December 2018

YOUSSEF, C. ; Bizet, F. ; Bastien, R. ; Legland, D. ; Bogeat, M.-B. ; Hummel, I.
Journal of Experimental Botany, 2018, 69 (21) : 5157-5168.
Pièces jointes : 2018_Youssef_ery272.pdf
Plant organ growth results from cell production and cell expansion. Deciphering the contribution of each of these processes to growth rate is an important issue in developmental biology. Here, we investigated the cellular processes governing root elongation rate, considering two sources of variation: genotype and disturbance by chemicals (NaCl, polyethylene glycol, H2O2, abscisic acid). Exploiting the adventitious rooting capacity of the Populus genus, and using time-lapse imaging under infrared-light, particle image velocimetry, histological analysis, and kinematics, we quantified the cellular processes involved in root growth variation, and analysed the covariation patterns between growth parameters. The rate of cell production by the root apical meristem and the number of dividing cells were estimated in vivo without destructive measurement. We found that the rate of cell division contributed more to the variation in cell production rate than the number of dividing cells. Regardless of the source of variation, the length of the elongation zone was the best proxy for growth rate, summarizing rates of cell production and cell elongation into a single parameter. Our results demonstrate that cell production rate is the main driver of growth rate, whereas elemental elongation rate is a key driver of short-term growth adjustments.