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Root hair growth for crop improvement

Generating hairier, bushier roots should improve nutrient and water capture. This is particularly important for Brassicas as they lack mycorrhizal symbionts. Root hair elongation is accompanied by oscillations in cytosolic free calcium at the apex (1). Plasma membrane calcium channels will be involved in generating these oscillations. We have identified three calcium channels (2-4) using electrophysiology and need to understand their regulation, contribution to calcium oscillations and molecular identities. This project will use Arabidopsis mutants, electrophysiology and calcium imaging to address these problems.

  1. PNAS. USA 104: 20996-21001
  2. PNAS USA 97: 9801
  3. Nature 422: 442
  4. New Phytologist 179: 378