D-Root: a system for cultivating plants with the roots in darkness or under different light conditions

Autores: Silva-Navas, J.; Moreno-Risueno, M.A.; Manzano, C.; Pallero-Baena, M.; Navarro-Neila, S.; Téllez-Robledo, B.; García-Mina Freire, José María; Baigorri Ekisoain, Roberto Pedro; Gallego, F.J.; Del Pozo, J.C.
Título de la revista: PLANT JOURNAL
ISSN: 0960-7412
Volumen: 84
Páginas: 244 - 255
Fecha de publicación: 2015
In nature roots grow in the dark and away from light (negative phototropism). However, most current research in root biology has been carried out with the root system grown in the presence of light. Here, we have engineered a device, called Dark-Root (D-Root), to grow plants in vitro with the aerial part exposed to the normal light/dark photoperiod while the roots are in the dark or exposed to specific wavelengths or light intensities. D-Root provides an efficient system for cultivating a large number of seedlings and easily characterizing root architecture in the dark. At the morphological level, root illumination shortens root length and promotes early emergence of lateral roots, therefore inducing expansion of the root system. Surprisingly, root illumination also affects shoot development, including flowering time. Our analyses also show that root illumination alters the proper response to hormones or abiotic stress (e.g. salt or osmotic stress) and nutrient starvation, enhancing inhibition of root growth. In conclusion, D-Root provides a growing system closer to the natural one for assaying Arabidopsis plants, and therefore its use will contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms involved in root development, hormonal signaling and stress responses.