Auxin response factors mediate Arabidopsis organ asymmetry via modulation of KANADI activity

Irena Pekker, John Paul Alvarez, Yuval Eshed
Plant Cell 2005, 17 (11): 2899-910
Members of the KANADI gene family in Arabidopsis thaliana regulate abaxial identity and laminar growth of lateral organs. Promoter APETALA3-mediated ectopic expression of KANADI restricts petal expansion and was used in a genetic screen for factors involved in KANADI-mediated signaling. Through this screen, mutations in ETTIN (ETT; also known as Auxin Response Factor3 [ARF3]) were isolated as second site suppressors and found to ameliorate ectopic KANADI activity throughout the plant as well. Mutant phenotypes of ett are restricted to flowers; however, double mutants with a closely related gene ARF4 exhibit transformation of abaxial tissues into adaxial ones in all aerial parts, resembling mutations in KANADI. Accordingly, the common RNA expression domain of both ARFs was found to be on the abaxial side of all lateral organs. Truncated, negatively acting gene products of strong ett alleles map to an ARF-specific, N-terminal domain of ETT. Such gene products strongly enhance abaxial tissue loss only when ARF activities are compromised. As KANADI is not required for either ETT or ARF4 transcription, and their overexpression cannot rescue kanadi mutants, cooperative activity is implied. ARF proteins are pivotal in mediating auxin responses; thus, we present a model linking transient local auxin gradients and gradual partitioning of lateral organs along the abaxial/adaxial axis.

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