Cytokinins are phytohormones that regulate diverse developmental processes throughout the life of a plant. trans-Zeatin, kinetin, benzyladenine and dihydrozeatin are adenine-type cytokinins that are perceived by the AHK cytokinin receptors. Endogenous cytokinin levels are critical for regulating plant development. To manipulate intracellular cytokinin levels, caged cytokinins were designed on the basis of the crystal structure of the AHK4 cytokinin receptor. The caged cytokinin was photolyzed to release the cytokinin molecule inside the cells and induce cytokinin-responsive gene expression. The uncaging of intracellular caged cytokinins demonstrated that cytokinin-induced root growth inhibition can be manipulated with photo-irradiation. This caged cytokinin system could be a powerful tool for cytokinin biology.
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