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Plant Cell Physiol. 2013 Apr;54(4):609-21. doi: 10.1093/pcp/pct028. Epub 2013 Feb 8.

Tissue-specific expression of SMALL AUXIN UP RNA41 differentially regulates cell expansion and root meristem patterning in Arabidopsis.

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Institute of Genetics, College of Life Sciences, Zhejiang University, Zijingang Campus, Hangzhou 310058, China.


Among the three primary auxin-induced gene families, Auxin/Indole-3-Acetic Acid (Aux/IAA), Gretchen Hagen3 (GH3) and SMALL AUXIN UP RNA (SAUR), the function of SAUR genes remains unclear. Arabidopsis SAUR genes have been phylogenetically classified into three clades. Recent work has suggested that SAUR19 (clade II) and SAUR63 (clade I) promote cell expansion through the modulation of auxin transport. Herein, we present our work on SAUR41, a clade III SAUR gene with a distinctive expression pattern in root meristems. SAUR41 was normally expressed in the quiescent center and cortex/endodermis initials; upon auxin stimulation, the expression was provoked in the endodermal layer. During lateral root development, SAUR41 was expressed in prospective stem cell niches of lateral root primordia and in expanding endodermal cells surrounding the primordia. SAUR41-EGFP (enhanced green fluorescent protein) fusion proteins localized to the cytoplasm. Overexpression of SAUR41 from the Cauliflower mosaic virus 35S promoter led to pleiotropic auxin-related phenotypes, including long hypocotyls, increased vegetative biomass and lateral root development, expanded petals and twisted inflorescence stems. Ectopic SAUR41 proteins were able to promote auxin transport in hypocotyls. Tissue-specific expression of SAUR41 from the PIN1, WOX5, PLT2 and ACR4 promoters induced the formation of new auxin accumulation/signaling peaks above the quiescent centers, whereas tissue-specific expression of SAUR41 from the PIN2 and PLT2 promoters enhanced root gravitropic growth. Cells in the root stem cell niches of these transgenic seedlings were differentially enlarged. The distinctive expression pattern of the SAUR41 gene and the explicit function of SAUR41 proteins implied that further investigations on the loss-of-function phenotypes of this gene in root development and environmental responses are of great interest.

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