Abscisic Acid in Root Growth and Development

Authored by: Ive De Smet , Hanma Zhang

Plant Roots

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

Print ISBN: 9781439846483
eBook ISBN: 9781439846490
Adobe ISBN:


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Abscisic acid (ABA) is a carotenoid-derived molecule that was first isolated from cotton plants and named abscisin (Liu and Carnsdagger 1961; Ohkuma et al. 1963) and from birch leaves and named dormin (Eagles and Wareing 1963). The name of this endogenous growth inhibitor in plants later became ABA (Addicott et al. 1968), derived from its initially assumed role in abscission of fruit and leaves. But this phytohormone also plays a major role in the response to stress and in fine-tuning growth and development (Lumba et al. 2010). ABA controls stomatal aperture, and based on its involvement in germination, bud growth, and lateral root outgrowth, it is also regarded as a dormancy hormone (Rohde et al. 2002; De Smet et al. 2006; Holdsworth et al. 2008). ABA does not appear to play a major role in organ development but rather in regulating the transitions between developmental stages, interacting with various other hormones to regulate plant growth and development (De Smet et al. 2003; Achard et al. 2006; Zhang et al. 2009, 2010). Here, we will describe the physiology and functions of ABA in roots, with a particular emphasis on its role in root growth, root branching, and root–shoot communication.

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