Endoplasmic reticulum localization and activity of maize auxin biosynthetic enzymes

J Exp Bot. 2015 Sep;66(19):6009-20. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erv314. Epub 2015 Jul 2.


Auxin is a major growth hormone in plants and the first plant hormone to be discovered and studied. Active research over >60 years has shed light on many of the molecular mechanisms of its action including transport, perception, signal transduction, and a variety of biosynthetic pathways in various species, tissues, and developmental stages. The complexity and redundancy of the auxin biosynthetic network and enzymes involved raises the question of how such a system, producing such a potent agent as auxin, can be appropriately controlled at all. Here it is shown that maize auxin biosynthesis takes place in microsomal as well as cytosolic cellular fractions from maize seedlings. Most interestingly, a set of enzymes shown to be involved in auxin biosynthesis via their activity and/or mutant phenotypes and catalysing adjacent steps in YUCCA-dependent biosynthesis are localized to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Positioning of auxin biosynthetic enzymes at the ER could be necessary to bring auxin biosynthesis in closer proximity to ER-localized factors for transport, conjugation, and signalling, and allow for an additional level of regulation by subcellular compartmentation of auxin action. Furthermore, it might provide a link to ethylene action and be a factor in hormonal cross-talk as all five ethylene receptors are ER localized.

Keywords: Auxin biosynthesis; YUCCA; Zea mays.; compartmentation; endoplasmic reticulum; localization; maize.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cotyledon / enzymology
  • Cotyledon / metabolism
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism
  • Indoleacetic Acids / metabolism*
  • Indoles / metabolism*
  • Microsomes / metabolism
  • Plant Growth Regulators / metabolism*
  • Plant Roots / enzymology
  • Plant Roots / metabolism
  • Seedlings / enzymology
  • Seedlings / metabolism
  • Tryptophan / metabolism*
  • Zea mays / enzymology
  • Zea mays / metabolism*


  • Indoleacetic Acids
  • Indoles
  • Plant Growth Regulators
  • indol-3-yl pyruvic acid
  • Tryptophan