External Mechanical Cues Reveal a Katanin-Independent Mechanism behind Auxin-Mediated Tissue Bending in Plants
Dev Cell. 2021, 56(1):67-80.e3
Baral A, Aryal B, Jonsson K, Morris E, Demes E, Takatani S, Verger S, Xu T, Bennett M, Hamant O, Bhalerao RP

Tissue folding is a central building block of plant and animal morphogenesis. In dicotyledonous plants, hypocotyl folds to form hooks after seedling germination that protects their aerial stem cell niche during emergence from soil. Auxin response factors and auxin transport are reported to play a key role in this process. Here, we show that the microtubule-severing enzyme katanin contributes to hook formation. However, by exposing hypocotyls to external mechanical cues mimicking the natural soil environment, we reveal that auxin response factors ARF7/ARF19, auxin influx carriers, and katanin are dispensable for apical hook formation, indicating that these factors primarily play the role of catalyzers of tissue bending in the absence of external mechanical cues. Instead, our results reveal the key roles of the non-canonical TMK-mediated auxin pathway, PIN efflux carriers, and cellulose microfibrils as components of the core pathway behind hook formation in the presence or absence of external mechanical cues.

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