P7 - Rhizo Transport

Nutrient and water transporters actively shape spatiotemporal rhizosphere organization processes in maize


The rhizosphere adapts permanently to changing nutrient and water availabilities to ensure plant nutrient and water uptake. A change in root patterning, plant tissue differentiation or metabolic alterations in response to the availability of one nutrient may have severe consequences for the uptake of other nutrients, water fluxes through the soil and into the plant and on the rhizosphere. We hypothesize that nutrient- and water transporter gene expression patterns and subsequent transporter functions are decisive factors which spatiotemporally shape the self-organization of the rhizosphere. Knowledge gained on transporter expression patterns will allow to comprehend rhizosphere response reactions.
A particular goal of this project is to identify and characterize mechanisms which ensure uptake of nutrients and water in a re-organizing rhizosphere of maize plants grown in B-deficient and B-sufficient growth conditions. To achieve our aim, expression patterns of selected key nutrient- and water transporters which are transcriptionally rapidly responsive to either the B, N, P, S, Fe or Si status of roots and which are important for the uptake and distribution of the corresponding nutrients, will be determined in different zones of maize root systems which developed under varying B supply conditions in different soil textures. Expression data of B73 maize wild-type plants and mutants either lacking root hairs (rth3) or specific water- or B transport proteins will be causatively linked to nutrient fluxes and root structure- and architecture traits using elemental, biochemical and imaging analysis tools.
X-ray CT measurements will revoke the impact of plant B deficiency responses on 3D root growth traits and on so far unexplored soil pore characteristics at the root-soil interphase being crucial for nutrient and water fluxes.

This project aims to unravel the roles of root hairs and soil texture in the uptake and translocation of nutrients as a function of the roots’ B nutritional status. Moreover, the project will identify the role of nutrient and water transporter-encoding genes in rhizosphere re-organization processes and their interplay with the mentioned rhizosphere-modifying drivers.

Link to English scientific abstract

Link to German scientific abstract