WP3 Root signalling in stressed cereals

The objectives of WP3 are to:

  1. Identify the hormonal, biophysical and nutritional signals emanating from or passing through roots, that control root architecture, as well as root and shoot functioning, in response to abiotic stresses (drought, low N).
  2. Evaluate in a holistic approach whether common or distinct signalling fingerprints emerge in response to low N and/or water stresses, and to examine their association with stress tolerance using adequate genetic variability.
  3. Use signals and fingerprints to improve robustness of associations between environmental conditions and plant responses, thereby providing markers and variables to improve model predictability and breeding practices.Some of the experiments performed within WP3 will use the contrasted genotypes selected or identified in WP1and WP2.

WP3 tasks will also incorporate analyses of experimental material supplied by partners working within WP4 and from the closely linked EU project, DROPS. WP3 will also provide data for some of the models beingdeveloped under WP5.WP3 will focus on a single species, maize, which is both a crop and a model species, and will follow two approaches:

  • A holistic approach (Task 3.1) will aim to identify stress signalling fingerprints and to evaluatetheir similarities across stresses (drought and low N) that often occur together in the field. This approach willbe performed at a large (Task 3.1.1) and medium (Task 3.1.2) throughput on a core population of 20 maizehybrids or in some instances a sub-set selected within this population. This set, commonly used by most maizeprograms within EURoots will be selected within the EU-DROPS (DROught-tolerant yielding PlantS) panel.It will reveal associations between fingerprints and stress tolerance features (such as shoot and root growthmaintenance, water use, root architecture, and resource acquisition).
  • A hypothesis driven approach, aiming to bring substantial advances in our understanding of facets of the root signalling system, will target interactions between particular signals and stresses. This approach will be performed at moderate (Task 3.1.2) and low (Task 3.2) throughputs in controlled and monitored environments, in response to drought, low N stress andin AM and non-AM-plants. For the lowest throughput, we will use adequate genetic material such as naturalextremes, targeted mutants and known chemical and biological treatments for altering targeted signals. Plant material will be characterized at growth, hormonal and transcriptomic level to reveal integrated responsesassociated with signals.

The deliverables for this workpackage can be found here