Graft-union development: a delicate process that involves cell-cell communication between scion and stock for local auxin accumulation

J Exp Bot. 2012 Jun;63(11):4219-32. doi: 10.1093/jxb/ers109. Epub 2012 Apr 17.


Grafting is an ancient cloning method that has been used widely for thousands of years in agricultural practices. Graft-union development is also an intricate process that involves substantial changes such as organ regeneration and genetic material exchange. However, the molecular mechanisms for graft-union development are still largely unknown. Here, a micrografting method that has been used widely in Arabidopsis was improved to adapt it a smooth procedure to facilitate sample analysis and to allow it to easily be applied to various dicotyledonous plants. The developmental stage of the graft union was characterized based on this method. Histological analysis suggested that the transport activities of vasculature were recovered at 3 days after grafting (dag) and that auxin modulated the vascular reconnection at 2 dag. Microarray data revealed a signal-exchange process between cells of the scion and stock at 1 dag, which re-established the communication network in the graft union. This process was concomitant with the clearing of cell debris, and both processes were initiated by a wound-induced programme. The results demonstrate the feasibility and potential power of investigating various plant developmental processes by this method, and represent a primary and significant step in interpretation of the molecular mechanisms underlying graft-union development.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / growth & development*
  • Arabidopsis / metabolism*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / metabolism
  • Breeding / methods*
  • Cell Communication*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Indoleacetic Acids / metabolism*
  • Plant Shoots / metabolism


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Indoleacetic Acids

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE36447