Document Type


Publication Date

February 2003


Plant cells respond to low concentrations of auxin by cell expansion, and at a slightly higher concentration, these cells divide. Previous work revealed that null mutants of the alpha-subunit of a putative heterotrimeric G protein (GPA1) have reduced cell division. Here, we show that this prototypical G protein complex acts mechanistically by controlling auxin sensitivity toward cell division. Loss-of-function G protein mutants have altered auxin-mediated cell division throughout development, especially during the auxin-induced formation of lateral and adventitious root primordia. Ectopic expression of the wild-type Galpha-subunit phenocopies the Gbeta mutants (auxin hypersensitivity), probably by sequestering the Gbetagamma-subunits, whereas overexpression of Gbeta reduces auxin sensitivity and a constitutively active (Q222L) mutant Galpha behaves like the wild type. These data are consistent with a model in which Gbetagamma acts as a negative regulator of auxin-induced cell division. Accordingly, basal repression of approximately one-third of the identified auxin-regulated genes (47 of 150 upregulated genes among 8300 quantitated) is lost in the Gbeta transcript-null mutant. Included among these are genes that encode proteins proposed to control cell division in root primordia formation as well as several novel genes. These results suggest that although auxin-regulated cell division is not coupled directly by a G protein, the Gbeta-subunit attenuates this auxin pathway upstream of the control of mRNA steady state levels.