Korber H, Strizhov N, Staiger D, Feldwisch J, Olsson O, Sandberg G, Palme K, Schell J, Koncz C
T-DNA gene 5 of Agrobacterium modulates auxin response by autoregulated synthesis of a growth hormone antagonist in plants
EMBO J: 1991 10:3983-3991
Oncogenes carried by the transferred DNA (T-DNA) of Agrobacterium Ti plasmids encode the synthesis of plant growth factors, auxin and cytokinin, and induce tumour development in plants. Other T-DNA genes regulate the tumorous growth in ways that are not yet understood. To determine the function of T-DNA gene 5, its coding region was expressed in Escherichia coli. Synthesis of the gene 5 encoded protein (26 kDa) correlated with a 28-fold increase in conversion of tryptophan to indole-3-lactate (ILA), an auxin analogue. Expression of chimeric gene 5 constructs in transgenic tobacco resulted in overproduction of ILA that enhanced shoot formation in undifferentiated tissues and increased the tolerance of germinating seedlings to the inhibitory effect of externally supplied auxin. Promoter analysis of gene 5 in plants revealed that its expression was inducible by auxin and confined to the vascular phloem cells. cis-regulatory elements required for auxin regulation and phloem specific expression of gene 5 were mapped to a 90 bp promoter region that carried DNA sequence motifs common to several auxin induced plant promoters, as well as a binding site for a nuclear factor, Ax-1. ILA was found to inhibit the auxin induction of the gene 5 promoter and to compete with indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) for in vitro binding to purified cellular auxin binding proteins. It is suggested therefore that ILA autoregulates its own synthesis and thereby modulates a number of auxin responses in plants.