Hydraulic flux–responsive hormone redistribution determines root branching

Poonam Mehra*, Bipin K. Pandey, Dalia Melebari, Jason Banda, Nicola Leftley, Valentin Couvreur, James Rowe, Moran Anfang, Hugues De Gernier, Emily Morris, Craig J. Sturrock, Sacha J. Mooney, Ranjan Swarup, Christine Faulkner, Tom Beeckman, Rishikesh P. Bhalerao, Eilon Shani, Alexander M. Jones, Ian C. Dodd, Robert E. SharpAri Sadanandom, Xavier Draye, Malcolm J. Bennett*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Plant roots exhibit plasticity in their branching patterns to forage efficiently for heterogeneously distributed resources, such as soil water. The xerobranching response represses lateral root formation when roots lose contact with water. Here, we show that xerobranching is regulated by radial movement of the phloem-derived hormone abscisic acid, which disrupts intercellular communication between inner and outer cell layers through plasmodesmata. Closure of these intercellular pores disrupts the inward movement of the hormone signal auxin, blocking lateral root branching. Once root tips regain contact with moisture, the abscisic acid response rapidly attenuates. Our study reveals how roots adapt their branching pattern to heterogeneous soil water conditions by linking changes in hydraulic flux with dynamic hormone redistribution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)762-768
Number of pages7
Issue number6621
StatePublished - 18 Nov 2022


FundersFunder number
European Molecular Biology Organization Long-Term FellowshipALTF 1140-2019
FUTUREROOTS310235, 294729
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme
H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions891262
H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research CouncilBB/P018572/1, BBS/E/J/000PR9796, BB/V003534/1, BB/W008874/1, BB/T001437/1, BB/W015080/1, BB/V00557X/1
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Gatsby Charitable Foundation725459
Gatsby Charitable Foundation
European Research Council
Fonds De La Recherche Scientifique - FNRS
Vetenskapsrådet757683, 2020-03522
Neurosciences FoundationIOS-1444448
Neurosciences Foundation


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