How Temperature Influences Root Growth in Perennial Rice

Greg Howard
9th May, 2024

How Temperature Influences Root Growth in Perennial Rice

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Lower temperatures (17–19 ℃) encourage earlier sprouting of rice axillary buds compared to higher temperatures (28–30 ℃)
  • At cooler temperatures, rice plants develop shorter rhizomes with smaller angles between branches, leading to quicker upward growth
  • Genes related to auxin hormone production and transport are more active in cooler conditions, influencing the direction and timing of rice plant growth
In the quest to adapt agriculture to the challenges of global climate change, scientists have turned their attention to perennial rice varieties. Perennial plants are known for their robustness and reduced need for resources compared to their annual counterparts. A key feature of perennial rice is the rhizome, an underground stem that allows the plant to survive across seasons. Researchers at Guangxi University have recently shed light on how temperature affects the development of these vital structures in Oryza longistaminata (OL), an African wild rice that is a potential candidate for breeding perennial rice varieties[1]. Rhizomes have the unique ability to grow horizontally beneath the soil before bending upwards to emerge as new aerial stems. This characteristic is crucial for the spread and survival of perennial rice. Prior studies have indicated that factors such as nutrient availability, particularly sucrose, can influence the transition from rhizome to aerial stem[2]. Furthermore, plant hormones, including cytokinins and strigolactones, have been identified as regulators of plant architecture and growth[3]. The study from Guangxi University expands on these findings by exploring the role of temperature in rhizome development. The researchers discovered that lower temperatures (17–19 ℃) favored the sprouting of axillary buds and encouraged the rhizomes to bend upwards more quickly than at higher temperatures (28–30 ℃). Consequently, plants grown in cooler conditions developed shorter rhizomes with smaller angles between branches, which led to earlier upward growth. To understand the molecular mechanisms behind this temperature-dependent growth, the team employed transcriptome analysis. This technique allowed them to observe changes in gene expression in response to different temperatures. They found that genes involved in the production and transport of auxin, a plant hormone that influences growth direction, were up-regulated in cooler conditions. Specifically, ARF17, ARF25, and FucT genes were more active at lower temperatures, contributing to an uneven distribution of auxin that prompted the rhizomes to grow upwards. Additionally, the study noted that temperature impacts the balance of other phytohormones like cytokinins and strigolactones, which have been shown to regulate bud outgrowth[3]. At higher temperatures, genes associated with the degradation of cytokinins, such as CKX4 and CKX9, were more active, while cytokinin biosynthesis gene IPT4 was suppressed. This suggests that warmer temperatures may inhibit bud growth. Conversely, strigolactone pathway components D3 and D14, which are known to restrain bud outgrowth, were also more active at higher temperatures. The findings from Guangxi University provide valuable insights into the complex interplay between temperature and hormone regulation in the development of rhizomes. This research not only contributes to our understanding of plant biology but also has practical implications for breeding perennial rice varieties that can thrive in diverse climate conditions. By integrating these new discoveries with previous knowledge on the role of sucrose and plant hormones in rhizome development[2][3], scientists are piecing together a more comprehensive picture of the factors that influence perennial rice growth. This could lead to agricultural practices that are more sustainable and better suited to the changing global climate, ultimately helping to secure food sources for future generations.

AgricultureGeneticsPlant Science


Main Study

1) Temperature Effect on Rhizome Development in Perennial rice

Published 8th May, 2024

Related Studies

2) Sucrose affects the developmental transition of rhizomes in Oryza longistaminata.

3) Strigolactone promotes cytokinin degradation through transcriptional activation of CYTOKININ OXIDASE/DEHYDROGENASE 9 in rice.

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