Auxin induces mitogenic activated protein kinase (MAPK) activation in roots of Arabidopsis seedlings

Plant J. 2000 Dec;24(6):785-96. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.2000.00921.x.


Genome analyses have shown that plants contain gene families encoding various components of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathways. Previous reports have described the involvement of MAPK pathways in stress and pathogen responses of leaves and suspension-cultured cells. Here we show that auxin treatment of Arabidopsis roots transiently induced increases in protein kinase activity with characteristics of mammalian ERK-like MAPKs. The MAPK response we monitored was the result of hormonal action of biologically active auxin, rather than a stress response provoked by auxin-like compounds. Auxin-induced MAPK pathway signaling was distinguished genetically in the Arabidopsis auxin response mutant axr4, in which MAPK activation by auxin, but not by salt stress, was significantly impaired. Perturbation of MAPK signaling in roots using inhibitors of a mammalian MAPKK blocked auxin-activated transgene expression in BA3-GUS seedlings, while potentiating higher than normal levels of MAPK activation in response to auxin. Data presented here indicate that MAPK pathway signaling is positively involved in auxin response, and further suggest that interactions among MAPK signaling pathways in plants influence plant responses to auxin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / enzymology*
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Indoleacetic Acids / physiology*
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases / metabolism*
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Mutation
  • Phosphorylation
  • Plant Roots / enzymology
  • Plant Roots / metabolism
  • Seeds


  • Indoleacetic Acids
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases