A number of novel strategies were employed to examine the role of indoleacetic acid (IAA) in regulating floral organ abscission in Arabidopsis thaliana. Analysis of auxin influx facilitator expression in GUS reporter plants revealed that AUX1, LAX1 and LAX3 were specifically up-regulated at the site of floral organ shedding. Flowers from mutants where individual family members were down-regulated exhibited a reduction in the force necessary to bring about petal separation, however, the effect was not additive in double or quadruple mutants. Using the promoter of a polygalacturonase (At2g41850), active primarily in cells undergoing separation, to drive expression of the bacterial genes iaaL or iaaM we have shown that it is possible to manipulate auxin activity specifically within the floral organ abscission zones (AZ). Analysis of petal breakstrength reveals that if IAA AZ levels are reduced shedding takes place prematurely while if they are enhanced organ loss is delayed. The At2g41850 promoter was also used to trans-activate the gain-of-function AXR3-1 gene in order to disrupt auxin signaling specifically within the floral organ AZ cells. Flowers from trans-activated lines failed to shed their sepals, petals and anthers during pod expansion and maturity and these organs frequently remained attached to the plant even after silique desiccation and dehiscence had taken place. These observations support a key role for IAA in the regulation of abscission in planta and reveal, for the first time, a requirement for a functional IAA-signaling pathway in AZ cells for organ shedding to take place.
Via Biswapriya Biswavas Misra