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Hormonal control of lateral root development

Dr. Laurent Laplaze


We are interested in lateral root formation and how root architecture is controlled by environmental factors in order to maximise soil exploitation in trees. Because forest trees are recalcitrant to molecular and genetic approaches, we use Arabidopsis thaliana as a model to isolate new genes involved in lateral root development. Arabidopsis genome is completly sequenced (AGI, 2001) and numerous functional genomic tools are available in this species. Moreover, the key stages in lateral root formation in Arabidopsis have been defined (Malamy and Benfey, 1997).  

Our strategy is based on a GAL4 enhancer trap system set up in Dr Jim Haseloff's Lab in Cambridge (UK).






Exemple of enhancer trap pattern as marked by gfp expression (green) in a lateral root primordia. Confocal section of a living Arabidopsis root stained with propidium iodide (red).

We isolated enhancer trap lines generated by Dr. J. Haseloff's, Dr. S. Poethig's and in our own lab for lateral root specific expression (Laplaze et al., 2005). Molecular analyses of these lines allow us to identify genes specifically expressed during lateral root development. Moreover, these lines are powerful tools to manipulate lateral root development.

In collaboration with Pr Malcolm Bennett's lab (Projet Alliance n°05752SM), we are using GAL4-mediated gene transactivation to analyse the role of phytohormones during lateral root initiation and development.

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Equipe Rhizogenèse 2006 - Institut de Recherche pour le Développement
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