Hatem Rouached

Hatem Rouached

session, year:
2015 2nd

Former fellow

Receiving laboratory:
Department of Plant Biology, Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford

Country of origin:


Country of destination:

United States of America

Mobility project

Systems biology approaches to identify regulatory networks that integrate the response of plants to multiple nutritional stresses: a case study in phosphorus, zinc, and iron

Phosphate (Pi) is an essential macronutrient for plant growth. Plants acquire Pi through roots, and its deficiency (-Pi) causes a severe reduction in plant development and in particular in primary root growth (PRG). This phenotype appears also to be a result of iron (Fe) excess. But simultaneous Pi and Fe deficiencies (-Pi-Fe) restore the PRG. The role of zinc (Zn) in regulating PRG under -Pi is also emerging, where simultaneous Pi deficiency and excess Zn (-Pi++Zn) restore the PRG, mimicking -Pi-Fe condition. With the established antagonistic interaction between Fe and Zn, these data all point to the existence of a tripartite Pi/Zn/Fe signaling network that cross talks and regulates PRG under -Pi. Despite its fundamental importance, the molecular mechanisms leading to the integration of these three signals to maintain root growth remains unknown. Therefore, this original “PiZnFe-Net” proposal aims at identifying key regulatory genes and pathways involved in the integration of Pi/Zn/Fe signals in Arabidopsis by employing transcriptomics, computational biology, and reverse genetic approaches. Integration of these data will provide a blueprint for discovering new regulatory pathways of Pi nutrition in plants.


Biography & research interests

I gained scientific and managerial skills during my PhD (University of Montpellier II, France, 2002-2005), my Postdoc (University of Lausanne, Switzerland, 2005-2009), and as Senior Scientist in Crop Design (BASF Company, Ghent, Belgium, 2010-2012). In 2010, I obtained the academic diploma for the hability to supervise PhD students (HDR University of Bourgogne, France). During my PhD and postdoctoral periods, I acquired expertise in the area of molecular and physiological aspects of plant nutrition. In particular, I studied the molecular mechanisms controlling the sulfate and phosphate transport and signaling in Arabidopsis through the study of the SULTR and PHO1 gene family. In 2012, I was recruited at INRA - Montpellier - FRANCE as permanent research. Since then, I am developing an original research program in the “Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of Plants” (B&PMP) Research Unit, aiming at decoding the genetic and molecular basis of the interaction between the homeostasis of macro-and micronutrients, particularly phosphate and metals, in plants.


Selected publications

Kisko M., Bouain N., Safi A., Medici A., Akkers RC., Secco D., Fouret G., Krouk G., Aarts MGM., Busch W., Rouached H., 2018. LPCAT controls phosphate homeostasis in a zinc-dependent manner. eLife, 7: e32077. Doi: 10.7554/ eLife.32077.

Rouached H., and Rhee Seung Y., 2017. System-level understanding of plant mineral nutrition in the big data era. Current Opinion in System Biology, 4: 71-77.

Pal S., Kisko M., Dubos C., Lacombe B., Berthomieu P., Krouk G*., Rouached H., 2017. TransDetect identifies a new regulatory module controlling phosphate accumulation in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiology,175.2:916-926.

Khan GA., Bouraine S., Wege S., Li Y., de Carbonnel M., Berthomieu P., Poirier Y., Rouached H., 2014. Coordination between zinc and phosphate homeostasis involves the transcription factor PHR1, the phosphate exporter PHO1, and its homologue PHO1; H3 in Arabidopsis. J Exp Bot. 65. 3: 871-84.

Rouached H., Stefanovic A., Secco D., Vidoudez C., Gout E., Bligny R., and Poirier Y., 2011. Uncoupling phosphate deficiency from its effects on growth and gene expression via PHO1 signaling in Arabidopsis. Plant Journal. 65.4: 557-570.

Awards & patents

2001-2005: Excellence fellowship for 4 years (Ministry of higher education and scientific research in Tunisia)

2011: Selected Scientist among CropDesign employees for the BASF Plant Science University.

2016: Promising Researchers at the region of Languedoc- Roussillon (Chercheur d’avenir de la Région Languedoc-Roussillon edition of 2016).


Plant mineral nutrition, Phosphate, Iron, Zinc, Multiple stresses, Signaling crosstalk, System biology, Gene regulatory network.