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Root phenotypes of dwarf and “overgrowth” SLN1 barley mutants, and implications for hypoxic stress tolerance

Moriconi, Jorge I., Kotula, Lukasz, Santa-María, Guillermo E., Colmer, Timothy D.
Journal of plant physiology 2019 v.234-235 pp. 60-70
Hordeum vulgare, adventitious roots, alleles, amino acid substitution, barley, dwarfing, flooded conditions, gibberellins, mutants, phenotype, plant development, plant response, porosity, proteins, rhizosphere, soil, stress tolerance
Gibberellins are central to the regulation of plant development and growth. Action of gibberellins involves the degradation of DELLA proteins, which are negative regulators of growth. In barley (Hordeum vulgare), certain mutations affecting genes involved in gibberellin synthesis or coding for the barley DELLA protein (Sln1) confer dwarfism. Recent studies have identified new alleles of Sln1 with the capacity to revert the dwarf phenotype back to the taller phenotypes. While the effect of these overgrowth alleles on shoot phenotypes has been explored, no information is available for roots. Here, we examined aspects of the root phenotypes displayed by plants with various Sln1 gene alleles, and tested responses to growth in an O2-deficient root-zone as occurs during soil waterlogging. One overgrowth line, bearing the Sln1d.8 allele carrying two amino acid substitutions (one in the amino terminus and one in the GRAS domain of the encoded DELLA protein), displays profound and opposite effects on shoot height and root length. While it stimulates shoot height, it severely compromises root length by a reduction of cell size in zones distal to the root apex. In addition, Sln1d.8 plants counteract the negative effect of the original mutation on the formation of adventitious roots. Interestingly, plants bearing this allele display enhanced resistance to flooding stress in a way non-related with increased root porosity. Thus, various Sln1 gene alleles contribute to root phenotypes and can also influence plant responses to root-zone O2-deficiency stress.