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BMC Plant Biol. 2017 Jul 11;17(1):121. doi: 10.1186/s12870-017-1071-x.

Indole-3-butyric acid promotes adventitious rooting in Arabidopsis thaliana thin cell layers by conversion into indole-3-acetic acid and stimulation of anthranilate synthase activity.

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Dipartimento di Biologia Ambientale, Sapienza Università di Roma, Roma, Italy.
Dipartimento di Biologia Ambientale, Sapienza Università di Roma, Roma, Italy.



Indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), and its precursor indole-3-butyric acid (IBA), control adventitious root (AR) formation in planta. Adventitious roots are also crucial for propagation via cuttings. However, IBA role(s) is/are still far to be elucidated. In Arabidopsis thaliana stem cuttings, 10 μM IBA is more AR-inductive than 10 μM IAA, and, in thin cell layers (TCLs), IBA induces ARs when combined with 0.1 μM kinetin (Kin). It is unknown whether arabidopsis TCLs produce ARs under IBA alone (10 μM) or IAA alone (10 μM), and whether they contain endogenous IAA/IBA at culture onset, possibly interfering with the exogenous IBA/IAA input. Moreover, it is unknown whether an IBA-to-IAA conversion is active in TCLs, and positively affects AR formation, possibly through the activity of the nitric oxide (NO) deriving from the conversion process.


Revealed undetectable levels of both auxins at culture onset, showing that arabidopsis TCLs were optimal for investigating AR-formation under the total control of exogenous auxins. The AR-response of TCLs from various ecotypes, transgenic lines and knockout mutants was analyzed under different treatments. It was shown that ARs are better induced by IBA than IAA and IBA + Kin. IBA induced IAA-efflux (PIN1) and IAA-influx (AUX1/LAX3) genes, IAA-influx carriers activities, and expression of ANTHRANILATE SYNTHASE -alpha1 (ASA1), a gene involved in IAA-biosynthesis. ASA1 and ANTHRANILATE SYNTHASE -beta1 (ASB1), the other subunit of the same enzyme, positively affected AR-formation in the presence of exogenous IBA, because the AR-response in the TCLs of their mutant wei2wei7 was highly reduced. The AR-response of IBA-treated TCLs from ech2ibr10 mutant, blocked into IBA-to-IAA-conversion, was also strongly reduced. Nitric oxide, an IAA downstream signal and a by-product of IBA-to-IAA conversion, was early detected in IAA- and IBA-treated TCLs, but at higher levels in the latter explants.


Altogether, results showed that IBA induced AR-formation by conversion into IAA involving NO activity, and by a positive action on IAA-transport and ASA1/ASB1-mediated IAA-biosynthesis. Results are important for applications aimed to overcome rooting recalcitrance in species of economic value, but mainly for helping to understand IBA involvement in the natural process of adventitious rooting.


Adventitious roots; Anthranilate synthase genes; In vitro culture; Indole-3-acetic acid; Indole-3-acetic acid efflux carriers; Indole-3-acetic acid influx carriers; Indole-3-butyric acid; Nitric oxide; Stem thin cell layers; ech2ibr10 mutant

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