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Genetic analysis of the Arabidopsis TIR1/AFB auxin receptors reveals both overlapping and specialized functions


The TIR1/AFB auxin co-receptors mediate diverse responses to the plant hormone auxin. The Arabidopsis genome encodes six TIR1/AFB proteins representing three of the four clades that were established prior to angiosperm radiation. To determine the role of these proteins in plant development we performed an extensive genetic analysis involving the generation and characterization of all possible multiply-mutant lines. We find that loss of all six TIR1/AFB proteins results in early embryo defects and eventually seed abortion, and yet a single wild-type allele of TIR1 or AFB2 is sufficient to support growth throughout development. Our analysis reveals extensive functional overlap between even the most distantly related TIR1/AFB genes except for AFB1. Surprisingly, AFB1 has a specialized function in rapid auxin-dependent inhibition of root growth and early phase of root gravitropism. This activity may be related to a difference in subcellular localization compared to the other members of the family.

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