Hatem Rouached

PhD & HDR in Plant Molecular Physiology

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10/04/19 : Approches systémiques de la nutrition minérale des plantes en biologie et en agronomie



AgSK annual meeting 2019


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System-level understanding of plant mineral nutrition in the big data era

Plants convert mineral elements from the soil into organic molecules, thereby serving as a major entry point of these elements into the food web and ultimately impacting human nutrition. Therefore, it is important to understand how plants regulate the homeostasis of these elements and how multiple mineral nutrient signals are wired to influence plant growth. The emergence of big data and methods for their analyses open new avenues for answering these questions. Here, we review the current understanding of how plants respond to single and multiple mineral nutrient limitations. We further highlight the importance of integrating omics data to gain new insights on mineral nutrition as an integrated system, which is required for devising future strategies to improve crop yield.


1-s2.0-S245231001730121X-gr1_lrgRouached and Rhee, 2017

tRouached and Rhee, 2017


Current Opinion in Systems Biology

Volume 4, August 2017, Pages 71-7

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Research Topic and beyond

In plants, mineral nutrient transport and homeostasis are highly regulated and complex processes. To date, research in this field has emphasised the analysis of the mineral nutrition, considering each nutrient individually. This research has however shown that numerous, complex interactions link the regulation of the homeostasis of different mineral nutrients, supposedly to maintain the general ionic equilibrium. Yet despite their fundamental importance, the molecular bases and biological significance of these interactions remain unknown. I am currently conducting a multi-disciplinary project to examine the signalling crosstalk between two essential macro- and micronutrients for plant growth, using broad-range state-of-the art technologies including transcriptomics, functional genomics, forward genetics and techniques from plant molecular physiology.

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Regulation of Phosphate Starvation Responses in Plants: Signaling Players and Cross-Talks

Phosphate (Pi) availability is a major factor limiting growth, development, and productivity of plants. In both ecological and agricultural contexts, plants often grow in soils with low soluble phosphate content. Plants respond to this situation by a series of developmental and metabolic adaptations that are aimed at increasing the acquisition of this vital nutrient from the soil, as well as to sustain plant growth and survival…. It has become increasingly clear that the response of plants to Pi as a nutrient is highly complex and depends on the interconnections between the signaling pathways involving Pi status, photo-assimilates, phytohormones, as well as other nutrients (e.g. iron), and that these interconnections manifest themselves at physiological, biochemical, and molecular levels. Currently, the biological significance of these interconnections as well as their molecular bases are still poorly studied, in spite of their fundamental importance for the improvement of Pi nutrition of plants. It is obvious that many pieces of this puzzle representing the Pi regulatory network are missing, which make more exciting future works aiming to resolve the enigma of how plants sense Pi, transmit signals both locally and at long distance, and how this is connected to the transcriptional machinery. It is also of fundamental importance to have a clear picture of the nature of the regulatory mechanisms that control the internal Pi flux (intracellular/inter-organ) in order to enable biotechnological and agronomic strategies aimed at improving crop yield in Pi-depleted soils.

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Regulation of ion homeostasis in plants: Current approaches and future challenges.

The dependency of plants on essential macro- and micro-elements to complete their life cycle serves as a major entry point of these elements into the global food web. However, plants often face depletion of one or more essential elements limiting their growth. Thus, in modern agriculture, improving plant mineral nutrition has gained fundamental importance in order to address the issue of sustainable food resources for the growing world population. Heavy fertilization of soil was, for long time, chosen as a strategy to cope with the deficiency of these elements. Yet, this strategy is neither economically nor ecologically conceivable at long-term. As an alternative, genetic and breeding approaches that provide plants new characteristics enabling them to grow in nutrient-depleted soils, has become a major focal interest. The research emphasis so far has been on elucidating the molecular physiology of individual nutritive elements. However, in practice, application of such knowledge is hindered by complex cross-talks, which are emerging in the face of new data, between these elements. Developing integrative approaches, combining genetic, comparative genomics and ‘omics’ platforms, is crucial to untangle the interconnected signaling networks regulating ion homeostasis in plants.

J Plant Physiol. 2009 Jun 1;166(9):893-902.