Plant Stress Tolerance Requires Auxin-Sensitive Aux/IAA Transcriptional Repressors

Eilon Shani, Mohammad Salehin, Yuqin Zhang, Sabrina E. Sanchez, Colleen Doherty, Renhou Wang, Cristina Castillejo Mangado, Liang Song, Iris Tal, Odelia Pisanty, Joseph R. Ecker, Steve A. Kay, Jose Pruneda-Paz, Mark Estelle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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 [3]. 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 [4]. 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-444
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 6 Feb 2017


  • Aux/IAA
  • abiotic stress
  • auxin
  • plant hormone
  • repressor

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)


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