Plant hormones are small-molecule signaling compounds that are collectively involved in all aspects of plant growth and development. Unlike animals, plants actively regulate the spatial distribution of several of their hormones. For example, auxin transport results in the formation of auxin maxima that have a key role in developmental patterning. However, the spatial distribution of the other plant hormones, including gibberellic acid (GA), is largely unknown. To address this, we generated two bioactive fluorescent GA compounds and studied their distribution in Arabidopsis thaliana roots. The labeled GAs specifically accumulated in the endodermal cells of the root elongation zone. Pharmacological studies, along with examination of mutants affected in endodermal specification, indicate that GA accumulation is an active and highly regulated process. Our results strongly suggest the presence of an active GA transport mechanism that would represent an additional level of GA regulation.
The plant hormone auxin is perceived by a family of F box proteins called the TIR1/auxin-signaling F box proteins (AFBs). Phylogenetic studies reveal that these proteins fall into four clades in flowering plants called TIR1, AFB2, AFB4, and AFB6. Genetic studies indicate that members of the TIR1 and AFB2 groups act as positive regulators of auxin signaling. In this report, we demonstrate a unique role for the AFB4 clade. Both AFB4 and AFB5 function as auxin receptors based on in vitro assays. However, unlike other members of the family, loss of AFB4 results in a range of growth defects that are consistent with auxin hypersensitivity, including increased hypocotyl and petiole elongation and increased numbers of lateral roots. Indeed, qRT-PCR experiments show that afb4-2 is hypersensitive to indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) in the hypocotyl, indicating that AFB4 is a negative regulator of auxin response. Furthermore, we show that AFB4 has a particularly important role in the response of seedlings to elevated temperature. Finally, we provide evidence that the AFB4 clade is the major target of the picloram family of auxinic herbicides. These results reveal a previously unknown aspect of auxin receptor function.
In Arabidopsis, FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) promotes flowering in response to long days in the photoperiod pathway, while signalling downstream gibberellin (GA) perception is critical for flowering under short days. Previously we have established that the TEMPRANILLO (TEM) genes have a pivotal role in the direct repression of FT. Here we show that TEM genes directly regulate the expression of the GA(4) biosynthetic genes GA 3-oxidase1 and 2 (GA3OX1 and GA3OX2). Plants overexpressing TEM genes resemble GA-deficient mutants, and conversely, TEM downregulation give rise to elongated hypocotyls perhaps as a result of an increase in GA content. We consistently find that TEM1 represses GA3OX1 and GA3OX2 by directly binding a regulatory region positioned in the first exon. Our results indicate that TEM genes seem to link the photoperiod and GA-dependent flowering pathways, controlling floral transition under inductive and non-inductive day lengths through the regulation of the floral integrators.
Many processes critical to plant growth and development are regulated by the hormone auxin. Auxin responses are initiated through activation of a transcriptional response mediated by the TIR1/AFB family of F-box protein auxin receptors as well as the AUX/IAA and ARF families of transcriptional regulators. However, there is little information on how auxin regulates a specific cellular response. To begin to address this question, we have focused on auxin regulation of cell expansion in the Arabidopsis hypocotyl. We show that auxin-mediated hypocotyl elongation is dependent upon the TIR1/AFB family of auxin receptors and degradation of AUX/IAA repressors. We also use microarray studies of elongating hypocotyls to show that a number of growth-associated processes are activated by auxin including gibberellin biosynthesis, cell wall reorganization and biogenesis, and others. Our studies indicate that GA biosynthesis is required for normal response to auxin in the hypocotyl but that the overall transcriptional auxin output consists of PIF-dependent and -independent genes. We propose that auxin acts independently from and interdependently with PIF and GA pathways to regulate expression of growth-associated genes in cell expansion.
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