Genetic components of root architecture remodeling in response to salt stress

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While everyone knows that salt stress reduces root growth, Julkowska and colleagues examined salt-stress induced changes in Root System Architecture (RSA) by studying 347 Arabidopsis accessions. The authors collected 17 RSA traits and developed an app allowing interactive exploration of collected data. GWAS identified 100 loci, among which were CYP79B2 and HKT1. CYP79B2 was validated to be involved in maintenance of lateral root growth during salt stress, possibly by altering auxin biosynthesis. Enhanced expression of the HKT1 ion transporter in the root stele repressed lateral root formation under salt stress conditions, revealing that while retention of salt ions in the root is an excellent mechanism of salinity tolerance in larger plants, it is detrimental for primordia development in young seedlings. The validation of other identified loci remains to be revealed.  (Summary by Magdalena Julkowska) Plant Cell 10.1105/tpc.16.00680