Calcium (Ca2+) is a universal regulatory element that intimately couples primary biotic and abiotic signals to many cellular processes, allowing plants and animals to develop and adapt to environmental stimuli. In plants, calcium releases are essential to the establishment of nitrogen-fixing and phosphate-delivering arbuscular mycorrhizal endosymbioses.
In a new study by the John Innes Centre, scientists used genetics and cell biology approaches and discovered the crucial role of calcium in modulating the plant growth hormone auxin. They also revealed that calcium could be released by the nucleus of root apical meristem—the region of the growing root.
Dr. Myriam Charpentier, from the John Innes Centre, said, “The ion channels governing symbiotic factor-induced nuclear calcium release are conserved among all land plants including non-symbiotic species suggesting additional function beyond symbioses.”
“Discovering the additional role of nuclear calcium release may help us improve plant growth and translate the discovery into agronomically relevant species.”
Scientists are further planning to study how modulation of nuclear calcium signals influence plant development and biotic interaction. This includes increasing the mechanistic understanding of its regulation as well as the mechanistic understanding of its impact.
The study is published in the journal Nature Communications.