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Concept: Auxin


Gravity has major effects on both the form and overall length of root growth. Numerous papers have documented these effects (over 300 publications in the last 5 years), the most well-studied being gravitropism, which is a growth re-orientation directed by gravity toward the earth’s center. Less studied effects of gravity are undulations due to the regular periodic change in the direction root tips grow, called waving, and the slanted angle of growth roots exhibit when they are growing along a nearly-vertical surface, called skewing. Although diverse studies have led to the conclusion that a gravity stimulus is needed for plant roots to show waving and skewing, the novel results just published by Paul et al. (2012) reveal that this conclusion is not correct. In studies carried out in microgravity on the International Space Station, the authors used a new imaging system to collect digital photographs of plants every six hours during 15 days of spaceflight. The imaging system allowed them to observe how roots grew when their orientation was directed not by gravity but by overhead LED lights, which roots grew away from because they are negatively phototropic. Surprisingly, the authors observed both skewing and waving in spaceflight plants, thus demonstrating that both growth phenomena were gravity independent. Touch responses and differential auxin transport would be common features of root waving and skewing at 1-g and micro-g, and the novel results of Paul et al. will focus the attention of cell and molecular biologists more on these features as they try to decipher the signaling pathways that regulate root skewing and waving.

Concepts: Plant, Earth, Observation, Tree, Root, International Space Station, Auxin, Gravitropism


The outgrowth of axillary buds into branches is regulated systemically via plant hormones and the demand of growing shoot tips for sugars. The plant hormone auxin is thought to act via two mechanisms. One mechanism involves auxin regulation of systemic signals, cytokinins and strigolactones, which can move into axillary buds. The other involves suppression of auxin transport/canalization from axillary buds into the main stem and is enhanced by a low sink for auxin in the stem. In this theory, the relative ability of buds and stem to transport auxin controls bud outgrowth. Here we evaluate whether auxin transport is required or regulated during bud outgrowth in pea (Pisum sativum). The profound, systemic and long-term effects of the auxin transport inhibitor N-1-naphthylphthalamic acid had very little inhibitory effect on bud outgrowth in strigolactone deficient mutants. Strigolactones can also inhibit bud outgrowth in N-1-naphthylphthalamic acid-treated shoots that have greatly diminished auxin transport. Moreover strigolactones can inhibit bud outgrowth despite a much diminished auxin supply in in vitro or decapitated plants. These findings demonstrate that auxin sink strength in the stem is not important for bud outgrowth in pea. Consistent with alternative mechanisms of auxin-regulation of systemic signals, enhanced auxin biosynthesis in Arabidopsis thaliana can suppress branching in yuc1D plants compared to wild-type plants, but has no effect on bud outgrowth in a strigolactone-deficient mutant background.

Concepts: Bud, Annual plant, Plant physiology, Plant hormone, Plant stem, Shoot, Auxin, Polar auxin transport


Cytokinins are a major group of phytohormones regulating plant growth, development and stress responses. However, in contrast to the well-defined polar transport of auxins, the molecular basis of cytokinin transport is poorly understood. Here we show that an ATP-binding cassette transporter in Arabidopsis, AtABCG14, is essential for the acropetal (root to shoot) translocation of the root-synthesized cytokinins. AtABCG14 is expressed primarily in the pericycle and stelar cells of roots. Knocking out AtABCG14 strongly impairs the translocation of trans-zeatin (tZ)-type cytokinins from roots to shoots, thereby affecting the plant’s growth and development. AtABCG14 localizes to the plasma membrane of transformed cells. In planta feeding of C(14) or C(13)-labelled tZ suggests that it acts as an efflux pump and its presence in the cells directly correlates with the transport of the fed cytokinin. Therefore, AtABCG14 is a transporter likely involved in the long-distance translocation of cytokinins in planta.

Concepts: Protein, Human, Cell membrane, Cell wall, Membrane biology, Root, Auxin, ATP-binding cassette transporter


Flower opening in Iris (Iris×hollandica) requires elongation of the pedicel and ovary. This moves the floral bud upwards, thereby allowing the tepals to move laterally. Flower opening is requires with elongation of the pedicel and ovary. In cv. Blue Magic, we investigated the possible role of hormones other than ethylene in pedicel and ovary elongation and flower opening. Exogenous salicylic acid (SA) and the cytokinins benzyladenine (N6-benzyladenine, BA) and zeatin did not affect opening. Jasmonic acid (JA) and abscisic acid (ABA) were slightly inhibitory, but an inhibitor of ABA synthesis (norflurazon) was without effect. Flower opening was promoted by gibberellic acid (GA(3)), but two inhibitors of gibberellin synthesis (4-hydroxy-5-isopropyl-2-methylphenyltrimethyl ammonium chloride-1-piperidine carboxylate, AMO-1618; ancymidol) did not change opening. The auxins indoleacetic acid (IAA) and naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA) strongly promoted elongation and opening. An inhibitor of auxin transport (2,3,5-triodobenzoic acid, TIBA) and an inhibitor of auxin effects [α-(p-chlorophenoxy)-isobutyric acid; PCIB] inhibited elongation and opening. The data suggest that endogenous auxins are among the regulators of the pedicel and ovary elongation and thus of flower opening in Iris.

Concepts: Plant hormones, Plant hormone, Abscission, Flower, Auxin, Gibberellic acid, 1-Naphthaleneacetic acid, 6-Benzylaminopurine


•Premise of the study: To reach favorable conditions for photosynthesis, seedlings grow upward when deprived of light upon underground germination. To direct their growth, they use their negative gravitropic capacity. Negative gravitropism is under tight control of multiple hormones.•Methods: By counting the number of standing plants in a population or by real time monitoring of the reorientation of gravistimulated seedlings of Arabidopsis thaliana, we evaluated the negative gravitropism of ethylene or brassinosteroid (BR) treated plants. Meta-analysis of transcriptomic data on AUX/IAA genes was gathered, and subsequent mutant analysis was performed.•Key results: Ethylene and BR have opposite effects in regulating shoot gravitropism. Lack of BR enhances gravitropic reorientation in 2-d-old seedlings, whereas ethylene does not. Lack of ethylene signaling results in enhanced BR sensitivity. Ethylene and BRs regulate overlapping sets of AUX/IAA genes. BRs regulate a wider range of auxin signaling components than ethylene.•Conclusions: Upward growth in seedlings depends strongly on the internal hormonal balance. Endogenous ethylene stimulates, whereas BRs reduce negative gravitropism in a manner that depends on the function of different, yet overlapping sets of auxin signaling components.

Concepts: Arabidopsis thaliana, Arabidopsis, Root, Seed, Plant morphology, Auxin, Gravitropism, Phototropism


Objective: Labisia pumila var. alata, commonly known as ‘Kacip Fatimah’ or ‘Selusuh Fatimah’ in Southeast Asia, is traditionally used by members of the Malay community because of its post-partum medicinal properties. Its various pharmaceutical applications cause an excessive harvesting and lead to serious shortage in natural habitat. Thus, this in vitro propagation study investigated the effects of different plant growth regulators (PGRs) on in vitro leaf and stem explants of L. pumila. Methods: The capabilities of callus, shoot, and root formation were evaluated by culturing both explants on Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium supplemented with various PGRs at the concentrations of 0, 1, 3, 5, and 7 mg/L. Results: Medium supplemented with 3 mg/L indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) showed the optimal callogenesis from both leaf and stem explants with (72.34±19.55)% and (70.40±14.14)% efficacy, respectively. IBA was also found to be the most efficient PGR for root induction. A total of (50.00±7.07)% and (77.78±16.47)% of root formation were obtained from the in vitro stem and leaf explants after being cultured for (26.5±5.0) and (30.0±8.5) d in the medium supplemented with 1 and 3 mg/L of IBA, respectively. Shoot formation was only observed in stem explant, with the maximum percentage of formation ((100.00±0.00)%) that was obtained in 1 mg/L zeatin after (11.0±2.8) d of culture. Conclusions: Callus, roots, and shoots can be induced from in vitro leaf and stem explants of L. pumila through the manipulation of types and concentrations of PGRs.

Concepts: Southeast Asia, Culture, Root, Plant morphology, Plant stem, Shoot, Auxin, The Medium


The demand for increased crop productivity and the predicted challenges related to plant survival under adverse environmental conditions have renewed the interest in research in root biology. Various physiological and genetic studies have provided ample evidence in support of the role of plant growth regulators in root development. The biosynthesis and transport of auxin and its signaling play a crucial role in controlling root growth and development. The univocal role of auxin in root development has established it as a master regulator. Other plant hormones, such as cytokinins, brassinosteroids, ethylene, abscisic acid, gibberellins, jasmonic acid, polyamines and strigolactones interact either synergistically or antagonistically with auxin to trigger cascades of events leading to root morphogenesis and development. In recent years, the availability of biological resources, development of modern tools and experimental approaches have led to the advancement of knowledge in root development. Research in the areas of hormone signal perception, understanding network of events involved in hormone action and the transport of plant hormones has added a new dimension to root biology. The present review highlights some of the important conceptual developments in the interplay of auxin and other plant hormones and associated downstream events affecting root development.

Concepts: Root, Plant hormones, Plant hormone, Abscisic acid, Abscission, Ethylene, Auxin, Jasmonic acid


Backgrounds and AimsCurrent research in plant science has concentrated on revealing ontogenetic processes of key attributes in plant evolution. One recently discussed model is the ‘transient model’ successful in explaining some types of inflorescence architectures based on two main principles: the decline of the so called ‘vegetativeness’ (veg) factor and the transient nature of apical meristems in developing inflorescences. This study examines whether both principles find a concrete ontogenetic correlate in inflorescence development.MethodsTo test the ontogenetic base of veg decline and the transient character of apical meristems the ontogeny of meristematic size in developing inflorescences was investigated under scanning electron microscopy. Early and late inflorescence meristems were measured and compared during inflorescence development in 13 eudicot species from 11 families.Key ResultsThe initial size of the inflorescence meristem in closed inflorescences correlates with the number of nodes in the mature inflorescence. Conjunct compound inflorescences (panicles) show a constant decrease of meristematic size from early to late inflorescence meristems, while disjunct compound inflorescences present an enlargement by merging from early inflorescence meristems to late inflorescence meristems, implying a qualitative change of the apical meristems during ontogeny.ConclusionsPartial confirmation was found for the transient model for inflorescence architecture in the ontogeny: the initial size of the apical meristem in closed inflorescences is consistent with the postulated veg decline mechanism regulating the size of the inflorescence. However, the observed biphasic kinetics of the development of the apical meristem in compound racemes offers the primary explanation for their disjunct morphology, contrary to the putative exclusive transient mechanism in lateral axes as expected by the model.

Concepts: Developmental biology, Stem cell, Plant, Plant morphology, Meristem, Auxin, Inflorescence, Vascular cambium


Auxin plays a key role in regulation of almost all processes of plant growth and development. Different physiological processes are regulated by different ranges of auxin concentrations; however, the underlying mechanisms creating these differences are largely unknown. The first step of auxin signaling is auxin-dependent interaction of an auxin receptor with transcriptional co-repressors (Aux/IAA), which leads to Aux/IAA degradation. Arabidopsis has six homologous auxin receptors (TIR1 and 5 AFBs), 29 Aux/IAA proteins, and two types of active auxins, IAA and phenylacetic acid. Therefore, a large number of possible combinations between these three factors may contribute to the creation of complex auxin responses. Using a yeast heterologous reconstitution system, we investigated auxin-dependent degradation of all Arabidopsis Aux/IAAs in combination with every TIR or AFB receptor component. We found that TIR1 and AFB2 were effective in mediating Aux/IAA degradation. We confirmed that the Aux/IAA domain II, which binds TIR1, is essential for degradation. IAA and other natural auxins, 4-Cl-IAA and phenylacetic acid, induced Aux/IAA degradation; and IAA and 4-Cl-IAA had higher activity than PAA. Effective auxin concentrations for Aux/IAA degradation depended on both Aux/IAAs and TIR1 or AFB2 receptors, which is consistent with the Aux/IAA-TIR1/AFB co-receptor concept.

Concepts: Protein, Hormone, Receptor, Regulation, Auxin, Combination, Auxins, Phenylacetic acid


Leucine-rich-repeat receptor-like kinases (LRR-RLKs) represent the largest subfamily of putative RLKs in plants. Although several members in this subfamily have been identified, the studies about the relationships between LRR-RLKs and root development are still few. We previously identified a novel LRR-RLK in rice roots, and named it OsRPK1.

Concepts: Kinase, Protein kinase, Root, Auxin, Polar auxin transport