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Durham e-Theses
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The response of Arabidopsis
thaliana roots to mechanical

JACOBSEN, AMY,GILLIAN,ROSE (2020) The response of Arabidopsis
thaliana roots to mechanical
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

PDF - Accepted Version


In soils, plants often encounter barriers to their growth and must be able to respond
to stress appropriately. Mechanical impedance has previously been shown to reduce
root elongation and may have a negative impact on crop yields. It is therefore
important to understand how root growth and development is regulated in response
to encountering a barrier. Plant roots respond to changes in their environment
through regulating the rates of cell division and the extent of cell expansion at the
root tip. These developmental changes are mediated by interactions between several
classes of hormones that form a complex network with key regulatory genes. The
objective of the work described in this thesis is to examine the response of Arabidopsis
thaliana roots to mechanical impedance and determine the hormonal signalling events
involved. The work presented here uses a range of techniques to answer this question
including microscopy, genetics, chemical intervention, RNA-Sequencing and analysis
of published literature.
Upon encountering a barrier, Arabidopsis root growth is reduced and shows a characteristic “step-like” growth pattern and it was established this response is caused by
a reduction in cell elongation. RNA-Sequencing data revealed the gene transcription
changes that occur in response to a barrier. Data from RNA-Sequencing and previous literature were used to generate hypotheses about the hormonal control of root
growth during the barrier response. Data presented in this thesis identified a role for
auxin and ethylene signalling during the barrier response. During bending, changes
in the levels and distribution of auxin were observed. The role of reactive oxygen
species (ROS) signalling was also investigated, providing some evidence for its involvement in root mechanical responses. Integrating evidence from RNA-Sequencing,
experimental work and evidence from the literature, I have constructed a model of
hypothesised pathways involved during root response to a barrier.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Science > Biological and Biomedical Sciences, School of
Thesis Date:2020
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:25 Sep 2020 14:43

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