The hormonal regulation of axillary bud growth in Arabidopsis

  • Chatfield S
  • Stirnberg P
  • Forde B
 et al. 
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Abstract

Apically derived auxin has long been known to inhibit lateral bud growth, but since it appears not to enter the bud, it has been proposed that its inhibitory effect is mediated by a second messenger. Candidates include the plant hormones ethylene, cytokinin and abscisic acid. We have developed a new assay to study this phenomenon using the model plant Arabidopsis. The assay allows study of the effects of both apical and basal hormone applications on the growth of buds on excised nodal sections. We have shown that apical auxin can inhibit the growth of small buds, but larger buds were found to have lost competence to respond. We have used the assay with nodes from wild-type and hormone-signalling mutants to test the role of ethylene, cytokinin and abscisic acid in bud inhibition by apical auxin. Our data eliminate ethylene as a second messenger for auxin-mediated bud inhibition. Similarly, abscisic acid signalling is not to be required for auxin action, although basally applied abscisic can enhance inhibition by apical auxin and apically applied abscisic acid can reduce it. By contrast, basally applied cytokinin was found to release lateral buds from inhibition by apical auxin, while apically applied cytokinin dramatically increased the duration of inhibition. These results are consistent with cytokinin acting independently to regulate bud growth, rather than as a second messenger for auxin. However, in the absence of cytokinin-signalling mutants, a role for cytokinin as a second messenger for auxin cannot be ruled out.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Abscisic acid
  • Apical dominance
  • Auxin
  • Bud growth
  • Cytokinin
  • Ethylene

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Authors

  • Steven P. Chatfield

  • Petra Stirnberg

  • Brian G. Forde

  • Ottoline Leyser

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