Design principles of a minimal auxin response system

Hirotaka Kato, Sumanth K. Mutte, Hidemasa Suzuki, Isidro Crespo, Shubhajit Das, Tatyana Radoeva, Mattia Fontana, Yoshihiro Yoshitake, Emi Hainiwa, Willy van den Berg, Simon Lindhoud, Kimitsune Ishizaki, Johannes Hohlbein, Jan Willem Borst, D. Roeland Boer, Ryuichi Nishihama, Takayuki Kohchi, Dolf Weijers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


Auxin controls numerous growth processes in land plants through a gene expression system that modulates ARF transcription factor activity1–3. Gene duplications in families encoding auxin response components have generated tremendous complexity in most land plants, and neofunctionalization enabled various unique response outputs during development1,3,4. However, it is unclear what fundamental biochemical principles underlie this complex response system. By studying the minimal system in Marchantia polymorpha, we derive an intuitive and simple model where a single auxin-dependent A-ARF activates gene expression. It is antagonized by an auxin-independent B-ARF that represses common target genes. The expression patterns of both ARF proteins define developmental zones where auxin response is permitted, quantitatively tuned or prevented. This fundamental design probably represents the ancestral system and formed the basis for inflated, complex systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-482
Number of pages10
JournalNature Plants
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2020 May 1


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