A classical role of the hormone auxin is in the formation of flowers at the periphery of the reproductive shoot apex. Mutants in regulators of polar auxin transport or in the auxin-responsive transcription factor MONOPTEROS (MP) form naked inflorescence “pins” lacking flowers. How auxin maxima and MP direct initiation of flower primordia is poorly understood. Here, we identify three genes whose expression is directly induced by auxin-activated MP that furthermore jointly regulate flower primordium initiation. These three genes encode known regulators of flower development: LEAFY (LFY), which specifies floral fate, and two AINTEGUMENTA-LIKE/PLETHORA transcription factors, key regulators of floral growth. Our study thus reveals a mechanistic link between flower primordium initiation and subsequent steps in flower morphogenesis. Finally, we uncover direct positive feedback from LFY to the auxin pathway. The auxin LFY module we describe may have been recruited during evolution to pattern other plant organ systems.
Yamaguchi, NobutoshiWu, Miin-FengWinter, Cara MBerns, Markus CNole-Wilson, StaciYamaguchi, AyakoCoupland, GeorgeKrizek, Beth AWagner, DorisDev Cell. 2013 Feb 11;24(3):271-82. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2012.12.017. Epub 2013 Jan 31.