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Open Access Research article

Enhanced resistance to the cellulose biosynthetic inhibitors, thaxtomin A and isoxaben in Arabidopsis thaliana mutants, also provides specific co-resistance to the auxin transport inhibitor, 1-NPA

Robert S Tegg1*, Sergey N Shabala2, Tracey A Cuin2, Noel W Davies3 and Calum R Wilson12

Author Affiliations

1 Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA), University of Tasmania (UTAS), 13 St John’s Ave, New Town, Tasmania, 7008, Australia

2 TIA, UTAS, Private Bag 54, Tasmania, Hobart, TAS 7001, Australia

3 Central Science Laboratory, University of Tasmania, Private Bag 74, Tasmania, Hobart, 7001, Australia

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BMC Plant Biology 2013, 13:76  doi:10.1186/1471-2229-13-76

Published: 3 May 2013



Thaxtomin A (TA) is a phytotoxin produced by plant pathogenic Streptomyces spp. responsible for potato common scab. TA inhibits cellulose biosynthesis in expanding plant tissues and is essential for disease induction. Auxin treatment of various plant tissues has been repeatedly demonstrated to inhibit TA toxicity and to reduce common scab. This work utilises Arabidopsis thaliana mutants with resistance to cellulose biosynthesis inhibitors (CBIs) to investigate the interaction between TA, other CBIs and auxins.


Three CBI resistant A. thaliana mutants; txr1-1 (tolerance to TA), ixr1-1 (tolerance to isoxaben - IXB) and KOR1 (cellulose deficiency), showed no altered root growth response to treatment with natural or synthetic auxins, nor with the auxin efflux transport inhibitor 2,3,5-Triiodobenzoic acid (TIBA). However, all mutants had significantly enhanced tolerance to 1-napthylphthalamic acid (NPA), another auxin efflux transport inhibitor, which blocks polar auxin transport at a site distinct from TIBA. NPA tolerance of txr1-1 and ixr1-1 was further supported by electrophysiological analysis of net H+ fluxes in the mature, but not elongation zone of roots. All three mutants showed increased tolerance to IXB, but only txr1-1 showed tolerance to TA. No mutant showed enhanced tolerance to a third CBI, dichlobenil (DCB).


We have demonstrated that plant tolerance to TA and IXB, as well as cell wall synthesis modifications in roots, have resulted in specific co-resistance to NPA but not TIBA. This suggests that CBI resistance has an impact on polar auxin efflux transport processes associated with the NPA binding protein. We also show that NPA inhibitory response in roots occurs in the mature root zone but not the elongation zone. Responses of mutants to CBIs indicate a similar, but not identical mode of action of TA and IXB, in contrast to DCB.

1-napthylphthalamic acid - NPA; 2,3,5-Triiodobenzoic acid - TIBA; Thaxtomin A; Isoxaben; Dichlobenil; Cellulose biosynthetic inhibitor; Common scab; Ion fluxes; Plasma membrane