Cytokinin Targets Auxin Transport to Promote Shoot Branching.

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Cytokinin promotes shoot branching by activating axillary buds, but its mechanism of action in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) in this process is unclear. We have shown previously that a hextuple mutant lacking a clade of type-A Arabidopsis Response Regulators (ARRs) known to act in cytokinin signaling has reduced shoot branching compared with the wild type. Since these proteins typically act as negative regulators of cytokinin signaling, this is an unexpected result. To explore this paradox more deeply, we characterized the effects of loss of function of the type-B ARR, ARR1, which positively regulates cytokinin-induced gene expression. The arr1 mutant has increased branching, consistent with a role antagonistic to the type-A ARRs but in apparent conflict with the known positive role for cytokinin in bud activation. We show that the arr branching phenotypes correlate with increases in stem auxin transport and steady-state levels of the auxin export proteins PIN3 and PIN7 on the plasma membrane of xylem-associated cells in the main stem. Cytokinin treatment results in an increased accumulation of PIN3, PIN7, and the closely related PIN4 within several hours, and loss of PIN3, PIN4, and PIN7 can partially rescue the arr1 branching phenotype. This suggests that there are multiple signaling pathways for cytokinin in bud outgrowth; one of these pathways regulates PIN proteins in shoots, independently of the canonical signaling function of the ARR genes tested here. A hypothesis consistent with the arr shoot phenotypes is that feedback control of biosynthesis leads to altered cytokinin accumulation, driving cytokinin signaling via this pathway.

Arabidopsis, Arabidopsis Proteins, Biological Transport, Cytokinins, DNA-Binding Proteins, Gene Expression Regulation, Plant, Indoleacetic Acids, Membrane Transport Proteins, Mutation, Nitrates, Plant Shoots, Plant Stems, Plants, Genetically Modified, Promoter Regions, Genetic, Signal Transduction, Transcription Factors
Journal Title
Plant Physiol
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Oxford University Press (OUP)
European Research Council (294514)
Gatsby Charitable Foundation (unknown)
Gatsby Charitable Foundation (unknown)
European Research Council Gatsby Charitable Foundation