Root SAT-NAV: uncovering the molecular mechanisms guiding root angle in soil

Roots employ directional signals to explore the soil environment and acquire anchorage and resources. Root angle is primarily regulated by the gravitropic response. However, other signals like water gradients induce roots’ stress-activated-tropisms navigation (SAT-NAV) system when encountering drying soil. Despite their importance, it is currently unclear how hydrotropism interacts with the gravitropic response to enable roots to forage for water. This project aims to uncover the mechanistic basis and functional importance of gravitropic and hydrotropic responses in roots of Arabidopsis and crops growing in soil. Unlike previous genetic studies, our multidisciplinary approach will help develop a deeper understanding about how these directional signals and their response pathways components interact to control root angle. The information generated will contribute to crop improvement and be very relevant to the BBSRC Highlight Area “effects of environmental change on the soil-water interface: implications for food production and water supply”.