Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



Front. Plant Sci. 4:484.


Copyright © 2013 Qiao and Libault.

Open access

doi: 10.3389/fpls.2013.00484


Plant root is an organ composed of multiple cell types with different functions.This multicellular complexity limits our understanding of root biology because -omics studies performed at the level of the entire root reflect the average responses of all cells composing the organ. To overcome this difficulty and allow a more comprehensive understanding of root cell biology, an approach is needed that would focus on one single cell type in the plant root. Because of its biological functions (i.e., uptake of water and various nutrients; primary site of infection by nitrogen-fixing bacteria in legumes), the root hair cell is an attractive single cell model to study root cell response to various stresses and treatments. To fully study their biology, we have recently optimized procedures in obtaining root hair cell samples. We culture the plants using an ultrasound aeroponic system maximizing root hair cell density on the entire root systems and allowing the homogeneous teatment of the root system. We then isolate the root hair cells in liquid nitrogen. Isolated root hair yields could be up to 800 to 1000 mg of plant cells from 60 root systems. Using soy bean as a model, the purity of the root hair was assessed by comparing the expression level of genes previously identified as soy bean root hair specific between prepartions of isolated root hair cells and stripped roots, roots devoid in root hairs. Enlarging our tests to include other plant species, our results support the isolation of large quantities of highly purified root hair cells which is compatible with a systems biology approach.