Detailed quantitative analysis of architectural traits of basal roots of young seedlings of bean in response to auxin and ethylene

Paramita Basu, Kathleen M. Brown, Anupam Pal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Vertical placement of roots within the soil determines their efficiency of acquisition of heterogeneous belowground resources. This study quantifies the architectural traits of seedling basal roots of bean (Phaseolus vulgaris), and shows that the distribution of root tips at different depths results from a combined effect of both basal root growth angle (BRGA) and root length. Based on emergence locations, the basal roots are classified in three zones, upper, middle, and lower, with each zone having distinct architectural traits. The genotypes characterized as shallow on BRGA alone produced basal roots with higher BRGA, greater length, and more vertically distributed roots than deep genotypes, thereby establishing root depth as a robust measure of root architecture. Although endogenous indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) levels were similar in all genotypes, IAA and 1-N-naphthylphthalamic acid treatments showed different root growth responses to auxin because shallow and deep genotypes tended to have optimal and supraoptimal auxin levels, respectively, for root growth in controls. While IAA increased ethylene production, ethylene also increased IAA content. Although differences in acropetal IAA transport to roots of different zones can account for some of the differences in auxin responsiveness among roots of different emergence positions, this study shows that mutually dependent ethylene-auxin interplay regulates BRGA and root growth differently in different genotypes. Root length inhibition by auxin was reversed by an ethylene synthesis inhibitor. However, IAA caused smaller BRGA in deep genotypes, but not in shallow genotypes, which only responded to IAA in the presence of an ethylene inhibitor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2056-2065
Number of pages10
JournalPlant physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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