ABA plays a central role in mediating the regulatory effects of nitrate on root branching in Arabidopsis

Plant J. 2001 Dec;28(6):655-62. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.2001.01185.x.


The formation of lateral roots (LR) is a major post-embryonic developmental event in plants. In Arabidopsis thaliana, LR development is inhibited by high concentrations of NO3(-). Here we present strong evidence that ABA plays an important role in mediating the effects of NO3(-) on LR formation. Firstly, the inhibitory effect of NO3(-) is significantly reduced in three ABA insensitive mutants, abi4-1, abi4-2 and abi5-1, but not in abi1-1, abi2-1 and abi3-1. Secondly, inhibition by NO3(-) is significantly reduced, but not completely abolished, in four ABA synthesis mutants, aba1-1, aba2-3, aba2-4 and aba3-2. These results indicate that there are two regulatory pathways mediating the inhibitory effects of NO3(-) in A. thaliana roots. One pathway is ABA-dependent and involves ABI4 and ABI5, whereas the second pathway is ABA-independent. In addition, ABA also plays a role in mediating the stimulation of LR elongation by local NO3(-) applications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abscisic Acid / metabolism*
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development*
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism
  • Mutation
  • Nitrates / metabolism*
  • Plant Roots / growth & development*
  • Plant Roots / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction


  • Nitrates
  • Abscisic Acid