What determines root‐sprouting ability: Injury or phytohormones?

Martínková J., Motyka V., Bitomský M., Adamec L., Dobrev P.I., Filartiga A., Filepová R., Gaudinová A., Lacek J., Klimešová J.

Keywords: Asteraceae, auxin/cytokinin ratio, biomass, buds, disturbance, Inula britannica, Inula salicina, phytohormones, root respiration
Abstract: Premise: Root‐sprouting (RS) is an evolutionarily independent alternative to axillary stem branching for a plant to attain its architecture. Root‐sprouting plants are better adapted to disturbance than non‐RS plants, and their vigor is frequently boosted by biomass removal. Nevertheless, RS plants are rarer than plants that are not rootsprouters, possibly because they must overcome developmental barriers such as intrinsic phytohormonal balance or because RS ability is conditioned by injury to the plant body. The objective of this study was to identify whether phytohormones or injury enable RS. Methods: In a greenhouse experiment, growth variables, root respiration, and phytohormones were analyzed in two closely related clonal herbs that differ in RS ability (spontaneously RS Inula britannica and rhizomatous non‐RS I. salicina) with and without severe biomass removal. Results: As previously reported, I. britannica is a root‐sprouter, but injury did not boost its RS ability. Root respiration did not differ between the two species and decreased continuously with time irrespectively of injury, but their phytohormone profiles differed significantly. In RS species, the auxins‐to‐cytokinins ratio was low, and injury further decreased it. Conclusions: This first attempt to test drivers behind different plant growth forms suggests that intrinsic phytohormone regulation, especially the auxins‐to‐cytokinins ratio, might be behind RS ability. Injury, causing a phytohormonal imbalance, seems to be less important in spontaneously RS species than expected for RS species in general.
DOI: 10.1002/ajb2.16102
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IEB authors: Petre I. Dobrev, Roberta Filepová, Alena Gaudinová, Jozef Lacek, Václav Motyka