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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2002 Aug;68(8):3795-801.

Role of Pseudomonas putida indoleacetic acid in development of the host plant root system.

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Department of Biology, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1.


Many plant-associated bacteria synthesize the phytohormone indoleacetic acid (IAA). While IAA produced by phytopathogenic bacteria, mainly by the indoleacetamide pathway, has been implicated in the induction of plant tumors, it is not clear whether IAA synthesized by beneficial bacteria, usually via the indolepyruvic acid pathway, is involved in plant growth promotion. To determine whether bacterial IAA enhances root development in host plants, the ipdc gene that encodes indolepyruvate decarboxylase, a key enzyme in the indolepyruvic acid pathway, was isolated from the plant growth-promoting bacterium Pseudomonas putida GR12-2 and an IAA-deficient mutant constructed by insertional mutagenesis. The canola seedling primary roots from seeds treated with wild-type P. putida GR12-2 were on average 35 to 50% longer than the roots from seeds treated with the IAA-deficient mutant and the roots from uninoculated seeds. In addition, exposing mung bean cuttings to high levels of IAA by soaking them in a suspension of the wild-type strain stimulated the formation of many, very small, adventitious roots. Formation of fewer roots was stimulated by treatment with the IAA-deficient mutant. These results suggest that bacterial IAA plays a major role in the development of the host plant root system.

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