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J Exp Bot. 2010 Mar;61(5):1419-30. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erq010. Epub 2010 Feb 17.

Auxin response factor 2 (ARF2) plays a major role in regulating auxin-mediated leaf longevity.

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Department of Science Education, Jeju National University, 66 Jejudaehakno, Jeju, 690-756, Korea.


Auxin regulates a variety of physiological and developmental processes in plants. Although auxin acts as a suppressor of leaf senescence, its exact role in this respect has not been clearly defined, aside from circumstantial evidence. It was found here that ARF2 functions in the auxin-mediated control of Arabidopsis leaf longevity, as discovered by screening EMS mutant pools for a delayed leaf senescence phenotype. Two allelic mutations, ore14-1 and 14-2, caused a highly significant delay in all senescence parameters examined, including chlorophyll content, the photochemical efficiency of photosystem II, membrane ion leakage, and the expression of senescence-associated genes. A delay of senescence symptoms was also observed under various senescence-accelerating conditions, where detached leaves were treated with darkness, phytohormones, or oxidative stress. These results indicate that the gene defined by these mutations might be a key regulatory genetic component controlling functional leaf senescence. Map-based cloning of ORE14 revealed that it encodes ARF2, a member of the auxin response factor (ARF) protein family, which modulates early auxin-induced gene expression in plants. The ore14/arf2 mutation also conferred an increased sensitivity to exogenous auxin in hypocotyl growth inhibition, thereby demonstrating that ARF2 is a repressor of auxin signalling. Therefore, the ore14/arf2 lesion appears to cause reduced repression of auxin signalling with increased auxin sensitivity, leading to delayed senescence. Altogether, our data suggest that ARF2 positively regulates leaf senescence in Arabidopsis.

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