We are interested in the genetics and physics of organ tropisms in plants. Tropism is referring to the modification of the direction of growth, in response to an external stimulus or perceived signal. For example, we are currently investigating the mechanism of root gravitropism (response to a gravitational field), root electrotropism (response to an electric field) and their relationship. To this purpose, we are developing new quantitative and imaging assays, and taking a molecular genetics approach to identify key molecular players.
- How is a weak external electric field (for example generated by charged soil particles, or simply free ions) perceived by plant tissues?
- What are the shared molecular mechanisms between gravitropism and electrotropism, and how are they integrated with each other?
- What is the adaptive value of root electrotropism?
- How is the information coming from the multiple environmental cues (light, gravity, humidity, temperature, electric fields, etc) integrated to output the "most valuable" tropism?