Modelling of Arabidopsis LAX3 expression suggests auxin homeostasis

Nathan Mellor, Benjamin PĂ©ret, Silvana Porco, Ilkka Sairanen, Karin Ljung, Malcolm Bennett & John King

Emergence of new lateral roots from within the primary root in Arabidopsis has been shown to be regulated by the phytohormone auxin, via the expression of the auxin influx carrier LAX3, mediated by the ARF7/19 IAA14 signalling module (Swarup et al., 2008). A single cell model of the LAX3 and IAA14 auxin response was formulated and used to demonstrate that hysteresis and bistability may explain the experimentally observed ‘all-or-nothing’ LAX3 spatial expression pattern in cortical cells containing a gradient of auxin concentrations. The model was tested further by using a parameter fitting algorithm to match model output with qRT-PCR mRNA expression data following exogenous auxin treatment. It was found that the model is able to show good agreement with the data, but only when the exogenous auxin signal is degraded over time, at a rate higher than that measured in the experimental medium, suggesting the triggering of an endogenous auxin homeostasis mechanism. Testing the model over a more physiologically relevant range of extracellular auxin shows bistability and hysteresis still occur when using the optimised parameters, providing the rate of LAX3 active auxin transport is sufficiently high relative to passive diffusion.

Journal of Theoretical Biology 366, 57-70

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