A novel sensor to map auxin response and distribution at high spatio-temporal resolution

GĂ©raldine Brunoud, Darren M. Wells, Marina Oliva, Antoine Larrieu, Vincent Mirabet, Amy H. Burrow, Tom Beeckman, Stefan Kepinski, Jan Traas, Malcolm J. Bennett & Teva Vernoux

Auxin is a key plant morphogenetic signal but tools to analyse dynamically its distribution and signalling during development are still limited. Auxin perception directly triggers the degradation of Aux/IAA repressor proteins. Here we describe a novel Aux/IAA-based auxin signalling sensor termed DII-VENUS that was engineered in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. The VENUS fast maturing form of yellow fluorescent protein was fused in-frame to the Aux/IAA auxin-interaction domain (termed domain II; DII) and expressed under a constitutive promoter. We initially show that DII-VENUS abundance is dependent on auxin, its TIR1/AFBs co-receptors and proteasome activities. Next, we demonstrate that DII-VENUS provides a map of relative auxin distribution at cellular resolution in different tissues. DII-VENUS is also rapidly degraded in response to auxin and we used it to visualize dynamic changes in cellular auxin distribution successfully during two developmental responses, the root gravitropic response and lateral organ production at the shoot apex. Our results illustrate the value of developing response input sensors such as DII-VENUS to provide high-resolution spatio-temporal information about hormone distribution and response during plant growth and development.

Nature 482 (7383), 103-106

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