Salt modulates gravity signaling pathway to regulate growth direction of primary roots in Arabidopsis

Plant Physiol. 2008 Jan;146(1):178-88. doi: 10.1104/pp.107.109413. Epub 2007 Nov 16.


Plant root architecture is highly plastic during development and can adapt to many environmental stresses. The proper distribution of roots within the soil under various conditions such as salinity, water deficit, and nutrient deficiency greatly affects plant survival. Salinity profoundly affects the root system architecture of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). However, despite the inhibitory effects of salinity on root length and the number of roots, very little is known concerning influence of salinity on root growth direction and the underlying mechanisms. Here we show that salt modulates root growth direction by reducing the gravity response. Exposure to salt stress causes rapid degradation of amyloplasts in root columella cells of Arabidopsis. The altered root growth direction in response to salt was found to be correlated with PIN-FORMED2 (PIN2) messenger RNA abundance and expression and localization of the protein. Furthermore, responsiveness to gravity of salt overly sensitive (sos) mutants is substantially reduced, indicating that salt-induced altered gravitropism of root growth is mediated by ion disequilibrium. Mutation of SOS genes also leads to reduced amyloplast degradation in root tip columella cells and the defects in PIN2 gene expression in response to salt stress. These results indicate that the SOS pathway may mediate the decrease of PIN2 messenger RNA in salinity-induced modification of gravitropic response in Arabidopsis roots. Our findings provide new insights into the development of a root system necessary for plant adaptation to high salinity and implicate an important role of the SOS signaling pathway in this process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / cytology
  • Arabidopsis / drug effects*
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Gravitropism / drug effects*
  • Ions
  • Plant Roots / cytology
  • Plant Roots / drug effects*
  • Plant Roots / growth & development*
  • Plastids / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects*
  • Sodium Chloride / metabolism*
  • Time Factors


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Ions
  • PIN2 protein, Arabidopsis
  • Sodium Chloride