Leaves depend on highly developed venation systems to collect fixed carbon for transport and to distribute water. We hypothesized that local regulation of auxin biosynthesis plays a role in vein development. To this effect, we assessed the role of the SHORT INTERNODES/STYLISH (SHI/STY) gene family, zinc-finger transcription factors linked to regulation of auxin biosynthesis, in Arabidopsis thaliana leaf vein development. Gene functions were assessed by a combination of high-resolution spatio-temporal expression analysis of promoter-marker lines and phenotypic analysis of plants homozygous for single and multiple mutant combinations. The SHI/STY genes showed expression patterns with variations on a common theme of activity in incipient and developing cotyledon and leaf primordia, narrowing to apices and hydathode regions. Mutant analysis of single to quintuple mutant combinations revealed dose-dependent defects in vein patterning affecting multiple vein traits, most notably in cotyledons. Here we demonstrate that local regulation of auxin biosynthesis is an important aspect of leaf vein development. Our findings also support a model in which auxin synthesized at the periphery of primordia affects vein development.
© 2013 The Authors. New Phytologist © 2013 New Phytologist Trust.