Conifers exhibit a characteristic inactivation of auxin to maintain tissue homeostasis
New Phytol. 2020, 226(6):1753-1765

Brunoni F, Collani S, Casanova-Sáez R, Šimura J, Karady M, Schmid M, Ljung K, Bellini C

Dynamic regulation of the levels of the natural auxin, indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), is essential to coordinate most of the physiological and developmental processes and responses to environmental changes. Oxidation of IAA is a major pathway to control auxin concentrations in angiosperms and, along with IAA conjugation, to respond to perturbation of IAA homeostasis. However, these regulatory mechanisms are still poorly investigated in conifers. To reduce this gap of knowledge, we investigated the different contribution of the IAA inactivation pathways in conifers. Mass spectrometry-based quantification of IAA metabolites under steady state conditions and after perturbation was investigated to evaluate IAA homeostasis in conifers. Putative Picea abies GH3 genes (PaGH3) were identified by a comprehensive phylogenetic analysis including angiosperms and basal land plants. Auxin-inducible PaGH3 genes were identified by expression analysis and their IAA-conjugating activity was explored. Compared to Arabidopsis, oxidative and conjugative pathways differentially contribute to reduce IAA levels in conifers. We demonstrated that the oxidation pathway plays a marginal role in controlling IAA homeostasis in spruce. Contrarily, an excess of IAA rapidly activates GH3-mediated irreversible conjugation pathways. Taken together, these data indicate that a diversification of IAA inactivation mechanisms evolved specifically in conifers.

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