Auxin plays an essential role in root development. It has been a long-held dogma that auxin required for root development is mainly transported from shoots into roots by polarly localized auxin transporters. However, it is known that auxin is also synthesized in roots. Here we demonstrate that a group of YUCCA (YUC) genes, which encode the rate-limiting enzymes for auxin biosynthesis, plays an essential role in Arabidopsis root development. Five YUC genes (YUC3, YUC5, YUC7, YUC8 and YUC9) display distinct expression patterns during root development. Simultaneous inactivation of the five YUC genes (yucQ mutants) leads to the development of very short and agravitropic primary roots. The yucQ phenotypes are rescued by either adding 5 nM of the natural auxin, IAA, in the growth media or by expressing a YUC gene in the roots of yucQ. Interestingly, overexpression of a YUC gene in shoots in yucQ causes the characteristic auxin overproduction phenotypes in shoots; however, the root defects of yucQ are not rescued. Our data demonstrate that localized auxin biosynthesis in roots is required for normal root development and that auxin transported from shoots is not sufficient for supporting root elongation and root gravitropic responses.
Keywords: Auxin; Biosynthesis; Hormone; Root development; Transport.
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