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Plant Cell. 2007 Jun;19(6):1826-37. Epub 2007 Jun 8.

Mutations in Arabidopsis multidrug resistance-like ABC transporters separate the roles of acropetal and basipetal auxin transport in lateral root development.

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


Auxin affects the shape of root systems by influencing elongation and branching. Because multidrug resistance (MDR)-like ABC transporters participate in auxin transport, they may be expected to contribute to root system development. This reverse genetic study of Arabidopsis thaliana roots shows that MDR4-mediated basipetal auxin transport did not affect root elongation or branching. However, impaired acropetal auxin transport due to mutation of the MDR1 gene caused 21% of nascent lateral roots to arrest their growth and the remainder to elongate 50% more slowly than the wild type. Reporter gene analyses indicated a severe auxin deficit in the apex of mdr1 but not mdr4 lateral roots. The mdr1 deficit was explained by 40% less acropetal auxin transport within the mdr1 lateral roots. The slow elongation of mdr1 lateral roots was rescued by auxin and phenocopied in the wild type by an inhibitor of polar auxin transport. Confocal microscopy analysis of a functional green fluorescent protein-MDR1 translational fusion showed the protein to be auxin inducible and present in the tissues responsible for acropetal transport in the primary root. The protein also accumulated in lateral root primordia and later in the tissues responsible for acropetal transport within the lateral root, fully supporting the conclusion that auxin levels established by MDR1-dependent acropetal transport control lateral root growth rate to influence root system architecture.

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