Root-to-shoot signaling positively mediates source-sink relation in late growth stages in diploid and tetraploid wheat

BMC Plant Biol. 2024 Jun 3;24(1):492. doi: 10.1186/s12870-024-05046-z.


Non-hydraulic root source signaling (nHRS) is a unique positive response to soil drying in the regulation of plant growth and development. However, it is unclear how the nHRS mediates the tradeoff between source and sink at the late growth stages and its adaptive mechanisms in primitive wheat. To address this issue, a root-splitting design was made by inserting solid partition in the middle of the pot culture to induce the occurrence of nHRS using four wheat cultivars (MO1 and MO4, diploid; DM22 and DM31, tetraploid) as materials. Three water treatments were designed as 1) both halves watered (CK), 2) holistic root system watered then droughted (FS), 3) one-half of the root system watered and half droughted (PS). FS and PS were designed to compare the role of the full root system and split root system to induce nHRS. Leaves samples were collected during booting and anthesis to compare the role of nHRS at both growth stages. The data indicated that under PS treatment, ABA concentration was significantly higher than FS and CK, demonstrating the induction of nHRS in split root design and nHRS decreased cytokinin (ZR) levels, particularly in the PS treatment. Soluble sugar and proline accumulation were higher in the anthesis stage as compared to the booting stage. POD activity was higher at anthesis, while CAT was higher at the booting stage. Increased ABA (nHRS) correlated with source-sink relationships and metabolic rate (i.e., leaf) connecting other stress signals. Biomass density showed superior resource acquisition and utilization capabilities in both FS and PS treatment as compared to CK in all plants. Our findings indicate that nHRS-induced alterations in phytohormones and their effect on source-sink relations were allied with the growth stages in primitive wheat.

Keywords: Abscisic acid; Cytokinin; Non-hydraulic signaling; Primitive wheat; Source-sink relations; Yield formation.

MeSH terms

  • Abscisic Acid / metabolism
  • Cytokinins / metabolism
  • Diploidy*
  • Plant Growth Regulators / metabolism
  • Plant Leaves / genetics
  • Plant Leaves / growth & development
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism
  • Plant Roots* / genetics
  • Plant Roots* / growth & development
  • Plant Roots* / metabolism
  • Plant Shoots / genetics
  • Plant Shoots / growth & development
  • Plant Shoots / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Tetraploidy*
  • Triticum* / genetics
  • Triticum* / growth & development
  • Triticum* / metabolism


  • Plant Growth Regulators
  • Abscisic Acid
  • Cytokinins