Background: Two related genes encoding AP2/ERF-type transcription factors, AINTEGUMENTA (ANT) and AINTEGUMENTA-LIKE6 (AIL6), are important regulators of floral growth and patterning in Arabidopsis. Evidence suggests that these genes promote several aspects of flower development in response to auxin. To investigate the interplay of ANT, AIL6 and auxin during floral development, I have examined the phenotypic consequences of disrupting polar auxin transport in ant, ail6 and ant ail6 mutants by either genetic or chemical means.
Results: Plants containing mutations in ANT or AIL6 alone or in both genes together exhibit increased sensitivity to disruptions in polar auxin transport. Both genes promote shoot growth, floral meristem initiation and floral meristem patterning in combination with auxin transport. However, differences in the responses of ant and ail6 single mutants to perturbations in auxin transport suggest that these two genes also have non-overlapping activities in each of these developmental processes.
Conclusions: The enhanced sensitivity of ant and ail6 mutants to alterations in polar auxin transport suggests that these mutants have defects in some aspect of auxin physiology. The inability of ant ail6 double mutants to initiate flowers in backgrounds disrupted for auxin transport confirm the proposed roles for these two genes in floral meristem initiation.