Scientific reports

Forward genetic screen for auxin-deficient mutants by cytokinin.

PMID 26143750


Identification of mutants with impairments in auxin biosynthesis and dynamics by forward genetic screening is hindered by the complexity, redundancy and necessity of the pathways involved. Furthermore, although a few auxin-deficient mutants have been recently identified by screening for altered responses to shade, ethylene, N-1-naphthylphthalamic acid (NPA) or cytokinin (CK), there is still a lack of robust markers for systematically isolating such mutants. We hypothesized that a potentially suitable phenotypic marker is root curling induced by CK, as observed in the auxin biosynthesis mutant CK-induced root curling 1 / tryptophan aminotransferase of Arabidopsis 1 (ckrc1/taa1). Phenotypic observations, genetic analyses and biochemical complementation tests of Arabidopsis seedlings displaying the trait in large-scale genetic screens showed that it can facilitate isolation of mutants with perturbations in auxin biosynthesis, transport and signaling. However, unlike transport/signaling mutants, the curled (or wavy) root phenotypes of auxin-deficient mutants were significantly induced by CKs and could be rescued by exogenous auxins. Mutants allelic to several known auxin biosynthesis mutants were re-isolated, but several new classes of auxin-deficient mutants were also isolated. The findings show that CK-induced root curling provides an effective marker for discovering genes involved in auxin biosynthesis or homeostasis.