Auxin activity: Past, present, and future

Tara A. Enders, Lucia C. Strader

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

186 Scopus citations


Long before its chemical identity was known, the phytohormone auxin was postulated to regulate plant growth. In the late 1800s, Sachs hypothesized that plant growth regulators, present in small amounts, move differentially throughout the plant to regulate growth. Concurrently, Charles Darwin and Francis Darwin were discovering that light and gravity were perceived by the tips of shoots and roots and that the stimulus was transmitted to other tissues, which underwent a growth response. These ideas were improved upon by Boysen-Jensen and Paál and were later developed into the Cholodny–Went hypothesis that tropisms were caused by the asymmetric distribution of a growth-promoting substance. These observations led to many efforts to identify this elusive growth-promoting substance, which we now know as auxin. In this review of auxin fi eld advances over the past century, we start with a seminal paper by Kenneth Thimann and Charles Schneider titled “The relative activities of different auxins” from the American Journal of Botany , in which they compare the growth altering properties of several auxinic compounds. From this point, we explore the modern molecular understanding of auxin—including its biosynthesis, transport, and perception. Finally, we end this review with a discussion of outstanding questions and future directions in the auxin fi eld. Over the past 100 yr, much of our progress in understanding auxin biology has relied on the steady and collective advance of the fi eld of auxin researchers; we expect that the next 100 yr of auxin research will likewise make many exciting advances.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAmerican Journal of Botany
PublisherBotanical Society of America Inc.
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)0002-9122
StatePublished - 2015

Publication series

NameAmerican Journal of Botany


  • Auxin
  • Auxin history
  • Metabolism
  • Signaling
  • Transport

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review


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