The relationship between auxin transport and maize branching

Gallavotti, A., Yang, Y., Schmidt, R. J., Jackson, D. P. (2008) The relationship between auxin transport and maize branching. Plant Physiology, 147 (4). pp. 1913-1923. ISSN 0032-0889

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DOI: 10.1104/pp.108.121541


Maize plants (Zea mays) make different types of vegetative or reproductive branches during development. Branches develop from axillary meristems produced on the flanks of the vegetative or inflorescence shoot apical meristem. Among these branches are the spikelets, short grass-specific structures, produced by determinate axillary spikelet-pair and spikelet meristems. We investigated the mechanism of branching in maize by making transgenic plants expressing a native expressed endogenous auxin efflux transporter (ZmPIN1a) fused to YFP, and a synthetic auxin-responsive promoter (DR5rev) driving RFP. By imaging these plants we found that all maize branching events during vegetative and reproductive development appear to be regulated by the creation of auxin response maxima through the activity of polar auxin transporters. We also found that the auxin transporter ZmPIN1a is functional as it can rescue the polar auxin transport defects of the Arabidopsis pin1-3 mutant. Based on this, and on the groundbreaking analysis in Arabidospis and other species, we conclude that branching mechanisms are conserved, and can, in addition, explain the formation of axillary meristems (spikelet-pair and spikelet meristems) that are unique to grasses. We also found that BARREN STALK1 (BA1) is required for the creation of auxin response maxima at the flanks of the inflorescence meristem, suggesting a role in the initiation of polar auxin transport for axillary meristem formation. Based on our results we propose a general model for branching during maize inflorescence development.

Item Type: Paper
Uncontrolled Keywords: alpha naphthylphthalamic acid alpha-naphthylphthalamic acid indoleacetic acid derivative phthalimide derivative vegetable protein Arabidopsis article biological model drug effect genetics growth, development and aging maize meristem metabolism mutation physiology reporter gene transgenic plant transport at the cellular level ultrastructure upregulation Arabidopsis Biological Transport Genes, Reporter Indoleacetic Acids Meristem Models, Biological Mutation Phthalimides Plant Proteins Plants, Genetically Modified Up-Regulation Zea mays
Subjects: bioinformatics > genomics and proteomics > genetics & nucleic acid processing
organism description > plant > maize
bioinformatics > genomics and proteomics > genetics & nucleic acid processing > protein structure, function, modification > protein types > auxin
bioinformatics > genomics and proteomics > genetics & nucleic acid processing > transgenic plants
CSHL Authors:
Communities: CSHL labs > Jackson lab
Depositing User: Tom Adams
Date: 2008
Date Deposited: 11 Jul 2011 21:00
Last Modified: 11 Jan 2017 21:06
PMCID: PMC2492655
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