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Plant J. 2011 Jan;65(2):309-18. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2010.04423.x. Epub 2010 Dec 16.

Dynamics of auxin-dependent Ca2+ and pH signaling in root growth revealed by integrating high-resolution imaging with automated computer vision-based analysis.

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Department of Botany, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA.


Plants adapt to a changing environment by entraining their growth and development to prevailing conditions. Such 'plastic' development requires a highly dynamic integration of growth phenomena with signal perception and transduction systems, such as occurs during tropic growth. The plant hormone auxin has been shown to play a key role in regulating these directional growth responses of plant organs to environmental cues. However, we are still lacking a cellular and molecular understanding of how auxin-dependent signaling cascades link stimulus perception to the rapid modulation of growth patterns. Here, we report that in root gravitropism of Arabidopsis thaliana, auxin regulates root curvature and associated apoplastic, growth-related pH changes through a Ca2+-dependent signaling pathway. Using an approach that integrates confocal microscopy and automated computer vision-based image analysis, we demonstrate highly dynamic root surface pH patterns during vertical growth and after gravistimulation. These pH dynamics are shown to be dependent on auxin, and specifically on auxin transport mediated by the auxin influx carrier AUX1 in cells of the lateral root cap and root epidermis. Our results further indicate that these pH responses require auxin-dependent changes in cytosolic Ca2+ levels that operate independently of the TIR1 auxin perception system. These results demonstrate a methodology that can be used to visualize vectorial auxin responses in a manner that can be integrated with the rapid plant growth responses to environmental stimuli.

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