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

52 Citations (Scopus)


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
Pages (from-to)940-952
JournalTrends in Plant Science
Issue number9
Early online date22 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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


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