The Aux/IAA proteins are auxin-sensitive repressors that mediate diverse physiological and developmental processes in plants [1, 2]. There are 29 Aux/IAA genes in Arabidopsis that exhibit unique but partially overlapping patterns of expression . Although some studies have suggested that individual Aux/IAA genes have specialized function, genetic analyses of the family have been limited by the scarcity of loss-of-function phenotypes . Furthermore, with a few exceptions, our knowledge of the factors that regulate Aux/IAA expression is limited [1, 5]. We hypothesize that transcriptional control of Aux/IAA genes plays a central role in the establishment of the auxin-signaling pathways that regulate organogenesis, growth, and environmental response. Here, we describe a screen for transcription factors (TFs) that regulate the Aux/IAA genes. We identify TFs from 38 families, including 26 members of the DREB/CBF family. Several DREB/CBF TFs directly promote transcription of the IAA5 and IAA19 genes in response to abiotic stress. Recessive mutations in these IAA genes result in decreased tolerance to stress conditions, demonstrating a role for auxin in abiotic stress. Our results demonstrate that stress pathways interact with the auxin gene regulatory network (GRN) through transcription of the Aux/IAA genes. We propose that the Aux/IAA genes function as hubs that integrate genetic and environmental information to achieve the appropriate developmental or physiological outcome.
Keywords: Aux/IAA; abiotic stress; auxin; plant hormone; repressor.
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