The sax1 dwarf mutant of Arabidopsis thaliana shows altered sensitivity of growth responses to abscisic acid, auxin, gibberellins and ethylene and is partially rescued by exogenous brassinosteroid

Plant J. 1999 May;18(3):303-14. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.1999.00454.x.


Genetic approaches using Arabidopsis thaliana aimed at the identification of mutations affecting events involved in auxin signalling have usually led to the isolation of auxin-resistant mutants. From a selection screen specifically developed to isolate auxin-hypersensitive mutants, one mutant line was selected for its increased sensitivity to auxin (x 2 to 3) for the root elongation response. The genetic analysis of sax1 (hypersensitive to abscisic acid and auxin) indicated that the mutant phenotype segregates as a single recessive Mendelian locus, mapping to the lower arm of chromosome 1. Sax1 seedlings grown in vitro showed a short curled primary root and small, round, dark-green cotyledons. In the greenhouse, adult sax1 plants were characterized by a dwarf phenotype, delayed development and reduced fertility. Further physiological characterization of sax1 seedlings revealed that the most striking trait was a large increase (x 40) in ABA-sensitivity of root elongation and, to a lesser extent, of ABA-induced stomatal closure; in other respects, hypocotyl elongation was resistant to gibberellins and ethylene. These alterations in hormone sensitivity in sax1 plants co-segregated with the dwarf phenotype suggesting that processes involved in cell elongation are modified. Treatment of mutant seedlings with an exogenous brassinosteroid partially rescued a wild-type size, suggesting that brassinosteroid biosynthesis might be affected in sax1 plants. Wild-type sensitivities to ABA, auxin and gibberellins were also restored in sax1 plants by exogenous application of brassinosteroid, illustrating the pivotal importance of the BR-related SAX1 gene.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abscisic Acid / pharmacology
  • Arabidopsis / drug effects
  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Brassinosteroids
  • Cholestanols / pharmacology
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Ethylenes / pharmacology
  • Genes, Plant
  • Gibberellins / pharmacology
  • Indoleacetic Acids / pharmacology
  • Mutation
  • Phenotype
  • Plant Growth Regulators / pharmacology
  • Steroids, Heterocyclic / pharmacology


  • Brassinosteroids
  • Cholestanols
  • Ethylenes
  • Gibberellins
  • Indoleacetic Acids
  • Plant Growth Regulators
  • Steroids, Heterocyclic
  • Abscisic Acid
  • ethylene
  • brassinolide