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Concept: Plant hormone


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


Flavonols are a group of secondary metabolites that affect diverse cellular processes. They are considered putative negative regulators of the transport of the phytohormone auxin, by which they influence auxin distribution and concomitantly take part in the control of plant organ development. Flavonols are accumulating in a large number of glycosidic forms. Whether these have distinct functions and diverse cellular targets is not well understood. The rol1-2 mutant of Arabidopsis thaliana is characterized by a modified flavonol glycosylation profile that is inducing changes in auxin transport and growth defects in shoot tissues. To determine whether specific flavonol glycosides are responsible for these phenotypes, a suppressor screen was performed on the rol1-2 mutant, resulting in the identification of an allelic series of UGT89C1, a gene encoding a flavonol 7-O-rhamnosyltransferase. A detailed analysis revealed that interfering with flavonol rhamnosylation increases the concentration of auxin precursors and auxin metabolites, while auxin transport is not affected. This finding provides an additional level of complexity to the possible ways by which flavonols influence auxin distribution and suggests that flavonol glycosides play an important role in regulating plant development.

Concepts: Gene, Evolution, Metabolism, Arabidopsis thaliana, Arabidopsis, Quercetin, Plant hormone, Polar auxin transport


The periodic formation of plant organs such as leaves and flowers gives rise to intricate patterns that have fascinated biologists and mathematicians alike for hundreds of years [1]. The plant hormone auxin plays a central role in establishing these patterns by promoting organ formation at sites where it accumulates due to its polar, cell-to-cell transport [2-6]. Although experimental evidence as well as modeling suggest that feedback from auxin to its transport direction may help specify phyllotactic patterns [7-12], the nature of this feedback remains unclear [13]. Here we reveal that polarization of the auxin efflux carrier PIN-FORMED 1 (PIN1) is regulated by the auxin response transcription factor MONOPTEROS (MP) [14]. We find that in the shoot, cell polarity patterns follow MP expression, which in turn follows auxin distribution patterns. By perturbing MP activity both globally and locally, we show that localized MP activity is necessary for the generation of polarity convergence patterns and that localized MP expression is sufficient to instruct PIN1 polarity directions non-cell autonomously, toward MP-expressing cells. By expressing MP in the epidermis of mp mutants, we further show that although MP activity in a single-cell layer is sufficient to promote polarity convergence patterns, MP in sub-epidermal tissues helps anchor these polarity patterns to the underlying cells. Overall, our findings reveal a patterning module in plants that determines organ position by orienting transport of the hormone auxin toward cells with high levels of MP-mediated auxin signaling. We propose that this feedback process acts broadly to generate periodic plant architectures.

Concepts: DNA, Gene expression, Cell, Eukaryote, Organ, Cell wall, Pattern, Plant hormone


Elements of micropropagation include establishment of shoot tip cultures, proliferation, rooting, and acclimatization of the resulting plantlets. The wide genetic variation in Pyrus makes micropropagation challenging for many genotypes. Initiation of shoots is most successful from forced dormant shoots or from scions grafted onto seedling rootstocks to impose juvenility. Clean shoots are recovered after testing for contaminants at the initiation stage on ½ strength Murashige and Skoog 1962 medium (MS), at pH 6.9 for 1 week or by streaking on nutrient agar. Although pear species and cultivars are cultured on several well-known media, MS is the most commonly used. Our studies showed that multiplication and growth of shoots are best on Pear Medium with higher concentrations of calcium chloride, potassium phosphate, and magnesium sulfate than MS medium and 4.4 μM N(6) benzyladenine. Pear shoots are often recalcitrant to rooting; however, a 5 s dip in 10 mM indole-3-butyric acid or naphthalene acetic acid before planting on basal medium without plant growth regulators is effective for many genotypes. Pear shoots store well at 1-4°C, and can hold for as long as 4 years without reculture. Cryopreservation protocols are available for long-term storage of pear shoot tips. Acclimation of in vitro-rooted or micrografted shoots in a mist bed follows standard procedures.

Concepts: Grafting, Agar, Plant hormone, Salt, Plant reproduction, Shoot, Rootstock, Plant propagation


Helleborus genus, belonging to the Ranunculaceae family, has 20 species of herbaceous perennial flowering plants. The commercial exploitation of this plant is dependent on the selection and propagation of appropriate lines. High propagation rate could be accomplished by using a suitable tissue culture method enabling the rapid introduction of valuable selections in the market. However, in vitro cultivation of Helleborus is still very difficult. Thereby the development of reliable in vitro propagation procedures is crucial for future production systems. Axillary buds cultured on agar-solidified Murashige and Skoog medium supplemented with 1 mg/L benzyladenine, 0.1 mg/L β-naphthoxyacetic acid, and 2 mg/L isopentenyl adenine develop shoots after 16 weeks of culture under 16 h light regime, 50-60 μmol/s/m(2), and 19 ± 1°C. The multiplication rate ranges from 1.4 to 2.1. However, the genotype and the number of subcultures affect the efficiency of the micropropagation process. The rooting of shoots is about 80% in solidified MS medium containing 1 mg/L 1-naphthaleneacetic acid and 3 mg/L indole-3-butyric acid. The described protocol provides information which can contribute to the commercial production of Helleborus plants.

Concepts: Natural selection, Plant, Bud, Culture, Annual plant, Plants, Plant hormone, Perennial plant


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


Drought affects rice reproduction and results in severe yield loss. The developmental defects and changes of gene regulation network in reproductive tissues under drought stress are largely unknown. In this study, rice plants subjected to reproductive stage drought stress were examined for floral development and transcriptomic changes. The results showed that male fertility was dramatically affected, with differing pollen viability in flowers of the same panicle due to aberrant anther development under water stress. Examination of local starch distribution revealed that starch accumulated abnormally in terms of position and abundance in anthers of water-stressed plants. Microarray analysis using flowers of different sizes identified >1,000 drought-responsive genes, most of which were specifically regulated in only one or two particular sizes of florets, suggesting developmental stage-dependent responses to drought. Genes known to be involved in tapetum and/or microspore development, cell wall formation or expansion, and starch synthesis were found more frequently among the genes affected by drought than genome average, while meiosis and MADS-box genes were less frequently affected. In addition, pathways related to gibberellin acid signaling and abscisic acid catabolism were reprogrammed by drought. Our results strongly suggest interactions between reproductive development, phytohormone signaling and carbohydrate metabolism in water-stressed plants.

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Organism, Cell wall, Seed, Plant hormone, Flower, Pollen


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


The tiller of rice (Oryza sativa L.), which determines the panicle number per plant, is an important agronomic trait for grain production. Ascorbic acid (Asc) is a major plant antioxidant that serves many functions in plants. l-Galactono-1,4-lactone dehydrogenase (GLDH, EC is an enzyme that catalyzes the last step of Asc biosynthesis in plants. Here we show that the GLDH-suppressed transgenic rices, GI-1 and GI-2, which have constitutively low (between 30% and 50%) leaf Asc content compared with the wild-type plants, exhibit a significantly reduced tiller number. Moreover, lower growth rate and plant height were observed in the Asc-deficient plants relative to the trait values of the wild-type plants at different tillering stages. Further examination showed that the deficiency of Asc resulted in a higher lipid peroxidation, a loss of chlorophyll, a loss of carotenoids, and a lower rate of CO(2) assimilation. In addition, the level of abscisic acid was higher in GI-1 plants, while the level of jasmonic acid was higher in GI-1 and GI-2 plants at different tillering stages. The results we presented here indicated that Asc deficiency was likely responsible for the promotion of premature senescence, which was accompanied by a marked decrease in photosynthesis. These observations support the conclusion that the deficiency of Asc alters the tiller number in the GLDH-suppressed transgenics through promoting premature senescence and changing phytohormones related to senescence.

Concepts: Photosynthesis, Antioxidant, Plant, Plant hormones, Plant hormone, Chlorophyll, Rice, Oryza sativa


The plant hormone auxin regulates a whole repertoire of plant growth and development. Many plant-associated microorganisms, by virtue of their auxin production capability, mediate phytostimulation effects on plants. Recent studies, however, demonstrate diverse mechanisms whereby plant pathogens manipulate auxin biosynthesis, signaling and transport pathways to promote host susceptibility. Auxin responses have been coupled to their antagonistic and synergistic interactions with salicylic acid and jasmonate mediated defenses, respectively. Here, we discuss that a better understanding of auxin crosstalk to plant immune networks would enable us to engineer crop plants with higher protection and low unintended yield losses.

Concepts: Immune system, Photosynthesis, Metabolism, Eukaryote, Water, Root, Plant hormone, Salicylic acid