How roots and shoots communicate through stressful times

Hongfei Li, Christa Testerink*, Yanxia Zhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


When plants face an environmental stress such as water deficit, soil salinity, high temperature, or shade, good communication between above- and belowground organs is necessary to coordinate growth and development. Various signals including hormones, peptides, proteins, hydraulic signals, and metabolites are transported mostly through the vasculature to distant tissues. How shoots and roots synchronize their response to stress using mobile signals is an emerging field of research. We summarize recent advances on mobile signals regulating shoot stomatal movement and root development in response to highly localized environmental cues. In addition, we highlight how the vascular system is not only a conduit but is also flexible in its development in response to abiotic stress.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTrends in Plant Science
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2021


  • abiotic stress
  • mobile signals
  • root growth
  • root vasculature plasticity
  • shoot–root communication
  • stomatal closure

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