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Planta. 2002 Dec;216(2):293-301. Epub 2002 Aug 24.

Species differences in ligand specificity of auxin-controlled elongation and auxin transport: comparing Zea and Vigna.

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  • 1Department of Plant Biology, Ohio State University, Columbus OH 43210, USA.
  • 2OH St U, Columbus


The plant hormone auxin affects cell elongation in both roots and shoots. In roots, the predominant action of auxin is to inhibit cell elongation while in shoots auxin, at normal physiological levels, stimulates elongation. The question of whether the primary receptor for auxin is the same in roots and shoots has not been resolved. In addition to its action on cell elongation in roots and shoots, auxin is transported in a polar fashion in both organs. Although auxin transport is well characterized in both roots and shoots, there is relatively little information on the connection, if any, between auxin transport and its action on elongation. In particular, it is not clear whether the protein mediating polar auxin movement is separate from the protein mediating auxin action on cell elongation or whether these two processes might be mediated by one and the same receptor. We examined the identity of the auxin growth receptor in roots and shoots by comparing the response of roots and shoots of the grass Zea mays L. and the legume Vigna mungo L. to indole-3-acetic acid, 2-naphthoxyacetic acid, 4,6-dichloroindoleacetic acid, and 4,7-dichloroindoleacetic acid. We also studied whether or not a single protein might mediate both auxin transport and auxin action by comparing the polar transport of indole-3-acetic acid and 2-naphthoxyacetic acid through segments from Vigna hypocotyls and maize coleoptiles. For all of the assays performed (root elongation, shoot elongation, and polar transport) the action and transport of the auxin derivatives was much greater in the dicots than in the grass species. The preservation of ligand specificity between roots and shoots and the parallels in ligand specificity between auxin transport and auxin action on growth are consistent with the hypothesis that the auxin receptor is the same in roots and shoots and that this protein may mediate auxin efflux as well as auxin action in both organ types.

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