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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

The IBR5 phosphatase promotes Arabidopsis auxin responses through a novel mechanism distinct from TIR1-mediated repressor degradation

Lucia C Strader, Melanie Monroe-Augustus and Bonnie Bartel*

Author Affiliations

Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Rice University, Houston, Texas 77005, USA

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BMC Plant Biology 2008, 8:41  doi:10.1186/1471-2229-8-41

Published: 18 April 2008

Abstract

Background

In Arabidopsis,

    I
NDOLE-3-
    B
UTYRIC ACID
    R
ESPONSE5 (IBR5), a putative dual-specificity protein phosphatase, is a positive regulator of auxin response. Mutations in IBR5 result in decreased plant height, defective vascular development, increased leaf serration, fewer lateral roots, and resistance to the phytohormones auxin and abscisic acid. However, the pathways through which IBR5 influences auxin responses are not fully understood.

Results

We analyzed double mutants of ibr5 with other mutants that dampen auxin responses and found that combining ibr5 with an auxin receptor mutant, tir1, enhanced auxin resistance relative to either parent. Like other auxin-response mutants, auxin-responsive reporter accumulation was reduced in ibr5. Unlike other auxin-resistant mutants, the Aux/IAA repressor reporter protein AXR3NT-GUS was not stabilized in ibr5. Similarly, the Aux/IAA repressor IAA28 was less abundant in ibr5 than in wild type. ibr5 defects were not fully rescued by overexpression of a mutant form of IBR5 lacking the catalytic cysteine residue.

Conclusion

Our genetic and molecular evidence suggests that IBR5 is a phosphatase that promotes auxin responses, including auxin-inducible transcription, differently than the TIR1 auxin receptor and without destabilizing Aux/IAA repressor proteins. Our data are consistent with the possibility that auxin-responsive transcription can be modulated downstream of TIR1-mediated repressor degradation.