Auxin distribution and transport during embryonic pattern formation in wheat

Plant J. 2001 Apr;26(2):115-29. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.2001.01013.x.


Inhibitors of auxin polar transport disrupt normal embryogenesis and thus specific spatial auxin distribution due to auxin movement may be important in establishing embryonic pattern formation in plants. In the present study, the distribution of the photoaffinity labeling agent tritiated 5-azidoindole-3-acetic acid ([3H],5-N3IAA), an analog of indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), was visualized in zygotic wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) embryos grown in vitro and in planta, and used to deduce auxin transport pathways in these embryos. This study provides the first direct evidence that the distribution of auxin, here [3H],5-N3IAA, is heterogeneous and changes during embryo development. In particular, the shift from radial to bilateral symmetry was correlated with a redistribution of [3H],5-N3IAA in the embryo. Furthermore, in bilaterally symmetrical embryos, that is, embryos in the late transition stage or older, the localization of [3H],5-N3IAA was altered by N-1-naphthylphthalamic acid, a specific inhibitor of auxin polar transport. No significant effect was observed in radially symmetrical embryos, that is, globular embryos, or very early transition embryos. Thus, the shift from radial to bilateral symmetry is associated with the onset of active, directed auxin transport involved in auxin redistribution. A change in the distribution of [3H],5-N3IAA was also observed in morphologically abnormal embryos induced on media supplemented with auxin or auxin polar transport inhibitors. By means of a microscale technique, free IAA concentration was measured in in vitro- and in planta-grown embryos and was found to increase during development. Therefore, IAA may be synthesized or released from conjugates in bilaterally symmetrical embryos, although import from surrounding tissues cannot be excluded.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Affinity Labels
  • Azides
  • Biological Transport
  • Body Patterning
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Herbicides
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Indoleacetic Acids / metabolism*
  • Isotope Labeling
  • Microradiography
  • Models, Biological
  • Phthalimides / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Plant Growth Regulators / metabolism
  • Seeds / cytology
  • Seeds / metabolism*
  • Triticum / cytology
  • Triticum / embryology
  • Triticum / metabolism*
  • Tritium


  • Affinity Labels
  • Azides
  • Herbicides
  • Indoleacetic Acids
  • Phthalimides
  • Plant Growth Regulators
  • Tritium
  • alpha-naphthylphthalamic acid
  • indoleacetic acid
  • 5-azido-1H-indole-3-acetic acid