Expression of cytokinin biosynthetic isopentenyltransferase genes in Arabidopsis: tissue specificity and regulation by auxin, cytokinin, and nitrate

Plant J. 2004 Jan;37(1):128-38. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.2003.01945.x.


The rate-limiting step of cytokinin biosynthesis in Arabidopsis thaliana Heynh. is catalyzed by ATP/ADP isopentenyltransferases, A. thaliana IsoPentenyl Transferase (AtIPT)1, and AtIPT4, and by their homologs AtIPT3, AtIPT5, AtIPT6, AtIPT7, and AtIPT8. To understand the dynamics of cytokinins in plant development, we comprehensively analyzed the expression of isopentenyltransferase genes of Arabidopsis. Examination of their mRNA levels and the expression patterns of the beta-glucuronidase (GUS) gene fused to the regulatory sequence of each AtIPT gene revealed a specific expression pattern of each gene. The predominant expression patterns were as follows: AtIPT1::GUS, xylem precursor cell files in the root tip, leaf axils, ovules, and immature seeds; AtIPT3::GUS, phloem tissues; AtIPT4::GUS and AtIPT8::GUS, immature seeds with highest expression in the chalazal endosperm (CZE); AtIPT5::GUS, root primordia, columella root caps, upper part of young inflorescences, and fruit abscission zones; AtIPT7::GUS, endodermis of the root elongation zone, trichomes on young leaves, and some pollen tubes. AtIPT1, AtIPT3, AtIPT5, and AtIPT7 were downregulated by cytokinins within 4 h. AtIPT5 and AtIPT7 was upregulated by auxin within 4 h in roots. AtIPT3 was upregulated within 1 h after an application of nitrate to mineral-starved Arabidopsis plants. The upregulation by nitrate did not require de novo protein synthesis. We also examined the expression of two genes for tRNA isopentenyltransferases, AtIPT2 and AtIPT9, which can also be involved in cytokinin biosynthesis. They were expressed ubiquitously, with highest expression in proliferating tissues. These findings are discussed in relation to the role of cytokinins in plant development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkyl and Aryl Transferases / genetics
  • Alkyl and Aryl Transferases / metabolism*
  • Arabidopsis / enzymology*
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • Cytokinins / biosynthesis*
  • Cytokinins / pharmacology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / drug effects
  • Glucuronidase / genetics
  • Glucuronidase / metabolism
  • Indoleacetic Acids / pharmacology
  • Isoenzymes / genetics
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism
  • Minerals / pharmacology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nitrates / pharmacology
  • Phylogeny
  • Plant Structures / genetics
  • Plant Structures / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Cytokinins
  • Indoleacetic Acids
  • Isoenzymes
  • Minerals
  • Nitrates
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Alkyl and Aryl Transferases
  • adenylate isopentenyltransferase
  • Glucuronidase

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AB061400
  • GENBANK/AB061401
  • GENBANK/AB061402
  • GENBANK/AB061403
  • GENBANK/AB061404
  • GENBANK/AB061405
  • GENBANK/AB061406