Mathematical Modelling of the Aux/IAA Negative Feedback Loop

A. Middleton#, J. King, M. Bennett & M. Owen

The hormone auxin is implicated in regulating a diverse range of developmental processes in plants. Auxin acts in part by inducing the Aux/IAA genes. The associated pathway comprises multiple negative feedback loops (whereby Aux/IAA proteins can repress Aux/IAA genes) that are disrupted by auxin mediating the turnover of Aux/IAA protein. In this paper, we develop a mathematical model of a single Aux/IAA negative feedback loop in a population of identical cells. The model has a single steady-state. We explore parameter space to uncover a number of dynamical regimes. In particular, we identify the ratio between the Aux/IAA protein and mRNA turnover rates as a key parameter in the model. When this ratio is sufficiently small, the system can evolve to a stable limit cycle, corresponding to an oscillation in Aux/IAA expression levels. Otherwise, the steady-state is either a stable-node or a stable-spiral. These observations may shed light on recent experimental results.

Bulletin of Mathematical Biology 72 (6), 1383-1407

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