Ethylene Regulates Root Growth and Development

Authored by: Daniel R. Lewis , Gloria K. Muday

Plant Roots

Print publication date:  April  2013
Online publication date:  April  2013

Print ISBN: 9781439846483
eBook ISBN: 9781439846490
Adobe ISBN:


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Ethylene is a gaseous plant hormone that has profound effects on many aspects of plant growth and development. The role of changing levels of ethylene in modulating fruit ripening, seed germination, hypocotyl and root elongation, abscission, and responses to biotic and abiotic stresses has been well described (Abeles et al. 1992; Kendrick and Chang 2008). The best studied ethylene-regulated processes are hypocotyl elongation, particularly in dark-grown seedlings, and fruit ripening (as reviewed in Klee 2004; Giovannoni 2007; Kendrick and Chang 2008). Altered ethylene response in these two growth processes are the phenotypes used for isolation of mutants in ethylene signaling and synthesis, predominantly in Arabidopsis thaliana and Lycopersicum esculentum (tomato) (Klee 2004; Giovannoni 2007; Kendrick and Chang 2008). In recent years, the effect of ethylene on root growth and development has received substantially more attention, with identification of both inhibitory effects of ethylene on root elongation, gravitropism, and lateral root development and stimulatory effects of ethylene on root hair initiation. These recent studies using the plethora of ethylene signaling and synthesis mutants have identified mechanisms by which ethylene regulates root growth and development and have provided strong evidence for ethylene exerting its effect on root growth through interactions with auxin. This chapter will introduce the basics of ethylene signaling and how ethylene affects root growth and development, followed by sections that detail the mechanisms by which ethylene interacts with auxin signaling, transport, and synthesis to drive ethylene-dependent root growth and development.

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