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Plant hormones

Auxin
One of the first hormone responses in
plants was the observation that light
affected the direction of growth of
plant coleoptiles in germinating seeds.
In the early 1900's, Fritz Went and a
number of other researchers showed
that these effects could be induced by
plant extracts, that were subsequently
shown to contain the plant hormone
indoleacetic acid (IAA) (see Chapters
2 & 9).
Auxins are commonly used as an aid to
rooting cuttings.
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Auxins promote adventitious


root formation as shown with
these yew (Taxus) cuttings.
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Plant hormones
Auxin
Auxin is the most important hormone involved in rooting.
Naturally occurring
Indole-3-acetic acid (IAA)

Indole-3-butyric acid (IBA)


Synthetic
-Naphthalene acetic acid (NAA)
2,4-diclorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D)

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Plant hormones
Auxin
IAA is the most abundant naturally
occurring auxin in plants. It is
synthesized from the amino acid Ltryptophan in leaf primordia, young
leaves and developing seeds.
Although naturally occurring, IAA
is not
commonly used in
propagation because it breaks down
quickly in the plant.
Synthetic auxins like IBA and NAA
are more commonly used and are
more effective.

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Plant hormones
Auxin

Indole-3-butyric acid (IAA) is


naturally occurring, but at very low
abundance.
It works by being converted to
IAA by the plant.
It is commonly found in commercial
rooting compounds.

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Plant hormones
Auxin
-Naphthalene acetic acid (NAA) is a
purely synthetic auxin.
It is chemically similar to IAA in
structure but is a more effective
auxin in promoting rooting.
It is commonly found in commercial
rooting compounds and is often
combined with IBA.

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Plant hormones
Auxin
The potassium salt form of IBA
and NAA have the advantage of
being water soluble and not
needing a solvent.

In some cases IBA or NAA


treated cuttings can be damaged
by the solvent used to dissolve
them.
In these cases, the water
soluble K-IBA and K-NAA can be
a very useful alternative.

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Plant hormones
Auxin
The
herbicide
2,4-diclorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) is
also considered a synthetic
auxin, but it is seldom used
commercially to promote rooting.
It is commonly used to induce
somatic embryogenesis in tissue
culture.

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Plant hormones
Auxin
Acid form of IAA
IAA is not used commercially as
often as synthetic auxins.
This is because it is not as stable.
IAA degrades in the light and is
susceptible to destruction in the
plant by IAA-oxidase.

CH2COOH
N

Decarboxylated IAA

IAA-oxidase removes the carboxyl


group (COOH) making it ineffective
as an auxin.

CH2 COOH
N
H

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CO2
+
H2 O
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Plant hormones
Auxin
Relative rooting response of different auxins.

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Plant hormones
Auxin
Indole-3-acetic
acid (IAA)

Conjugation of IAA naturally


protects it from destruction by
decarboxylation.

Conjugation adds a sugar or an


amino acid to the carboxyl end of
the molecule.
The conjugated form can be
metabolized back to active IAA.

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Plant hormones
Auxin
There are conjugated forms of
ausin used for cutting propagation.
These are also aryl ester and aryl
amide forms of IAA and IBA called
phenyl-IAA (P-IAA), phenyl-IBA (PIBA), phenyl thioester IBA (P-ITB)
and phenyl amide IBA (NP-IBA).
These have been shown to be
effective alternatives to IAA and
NAA and show less toxicity in
animal studies. P-ITB has
label
clearance from EPA, but is still not
commonly available.
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Plant hormones
Auxin
Auxin is produced in the apical
meristems.
Auxin moves from cell to cell in a
polar gradient (i.e., tip to base).
It moves from distal to proximal.

Distal

Proximal

Root / Shoot
Junction

Proximal

This is why cuttings root at the


base (proximal end) of the stem.

Distal
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Plant hormones
Polar auxin transport

Auxin
Auxin transport proteins are
located at the base of
parenchyma cells.
Transport is not sensitive to
gravity and always moves in a
polar direction.

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Plant hormones
Auxin
Transporter proteins (PIN1)
are only located at the
proximal end of the cell.
Therefore, auxin can only move
in one polar direction.
Mutations in the PIN protein
result in embryos with poorly
formed meristems showing how
important polar transport and
auxin gradients are for plant
growth and development.
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