AUXIN RESPONSE FACTOR1 and AUXIN RESPONSE FACTOR2 regulate senescence and floral organ abscission in Arabidopsis thaliana

Christine M Ellis, Punita Nagpal, Jeffery C Young, Gretchen Hagen, Thomas J Guilfoyle, Jason W Reed
Development 2005, 132 (20): 4563-74
In plants, both endogenous mechanisms and environmental signals regulate developmental transitions such as seed germination, induction of flowering, leaf senescence and shedding of senescent organs. Auxin response factors (ARFs) are transcription factors that mediate responses to the plant hormone auxin. We have examined Arabidopsis lines carrying T-DNA insertions in AUXIN RESPONSE FACTOR1 (ARF1) and ARF2 genes. We found that ARF2 promotes transitions between multiple stages of Arabidopsis development. arf2 mutant plants exhibited delays in several processes related to plant aging, including initiation of flowering, rosette leaf senescence, floral organ abscission and silique ripening. ARF2 expression was induced in senescing leaves. ARF2 regulated leaf senescence and floral organ abscission independently of the ethylene and cytokinin response pathways. arf1 mutations enhanced many arf2 phenotypes, indicating that ARF1 acts in a partially redundant manner with ARF2. However, unlike arf2 mutations, an arf1 mutation increased transcription of Aux/IAA genes in Arabidopsis flowers, supporting previous biochemical studies that indicated that ARF1 is a transcriptional repressor. Two other ARF genes, NPH4/ARF7 and ARF19, were also induced by senescence, and mutations in these genes enhanced arf2 phenotypes. NPH4/ARF7 and ARF19 function as transcriptional activators, suggesting that auxin may control senescence in part by activating gene expression.

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