Special Issue "Molecular Genetics of Root Gravitropism"

A special issue of Plants (ISSN 2223-7747). This special issue belongs to the section "Plant Development and Morphogenesis".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 November 2019.

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
PD Dr. Franck Ditengou Website E-Mail
Institute of Biology II, Faculty of Biology, Department of Cell Biology, University of Freiburg, D-79104 Freiburg, Germany
Interests: deciphering the molecular mechanisms regulating plant-environment interactions, particularly, the molecular mechanisms regulating plant response to gravity and microgravity; the communication plants-soil fungi/bacteria during symbiosis establishment and the impact of mechanical stimuli on root system architecture
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Christoph Forreiter Website E-Mail
1. Institute of Biology, University of Siegen, Adolf-Reichwein-Str. 2, 57068 Siegen, Germany
2. University Philipps of Marburg, Plant physiology and photobiology, Karl von Fritsch Str. 8, 35043 Marburg, Germany
Interests: analysis of molecular and cellular signalling events related to gravity and light perception in roots and stems, in particular, Ca2+-related events driving trans-golgi vesicular PIN-protein traffic to establish gravity or light induced asymmetry of the auxin flux.

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Since it was first described by Knight in 1906, gravity has fascinated several generations of researchers. Gravitropism is a process by which the growth of plant organs is slowly reoriented, in order to align according to the direction of the gravity vector. The ability to perceive and respond to gravity is crucial for plants as negative gravitropic growth (upward) enables the ideal positioning of aerial photosynthesis organs, whereas positive gravitropic growth of the root allows it to access water and nutrients present in the soil.

It is well established that root and shoot gravitropic responses involve gravistimulated displacement of starch-filled amyloplasts (also known as statoliths) located in shoot endodermis (starch sheath) and root tip columela cells. This physical stimulus is converted into a physiological signal; the asymmetric distribution of the plant hormone auxin, which is facilitated within the root tissues by the coordinated activity of auxin influx and efflux carriers. The asymmetric distribution of auxin is responsible for asymmetric growth causing the curvature of the root. In gravistimulated roots, the initial response of gravity sensing is considered to be the statoliths sedimentation within membrane domains at the bottom of statocytes, which elicit signals (Ca2+and H+) prior to auxin redistribution. However, despite the exponential growth of scientific knowledge in this field, fundamental questions remain unanswered. For instance, how can the precise timing of statoliths sedimentation and the cell-specific auxin distribution be reconciled with the reorientation of the root growth?

Several governments, through their space agencies, have unveiled ambitious programs to establish humans on the Moon, with plans for future establishments on Mars. The limited spacecraft transport capabilities make space farming an excellent way to provide astronauts with a varied and healthy diet. To reach this goal, it is fundamental to understand in detail whether distinct molecular signatures are triggered by space flight or extraterrestrial environments and whether they regulate specific plant adaptive mechanisms.

This Special Issue will summarize the progress in the field, focusing on the molecular mechanisms through which plants and plant cells perceive and respond to gravity and microgravity. The objective is to gather papers (original papers, opinions, reviews, and modeling approaches and methods) that focus on the analysis of root gravi-response to gravity and altered gravity conditions such as microgravity and hypergravity.

PD Dr. Franck Ditengou
Prof. Dr. Christoph Forreiter
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Plants is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • root gravitropism
  • microgravity environment
  • hypergravity environment
  • amyloplasts sedimentation
  • statoliths sedimentation
  • asymmetric auxin distribution
  • space colonization
  • space farming
  • International Space Station

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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