Low-fluence red light increases the transport and biosynthesis of auxin

Xing Liu, Jerry D. Cohen, Gary Gardner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


In plants, light is an important environmental signal that induces photomorphogenesis and interacts with endogenous signals, including hormones. We found that light increased polar auxin transport in dark-grown Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) and tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) hypocotyls. In tomato, this increase was induced by low-fluence red or blue light followed by 1 d of darkness. It was reduced in phyA, phyB1, and phyB2 tomato mutants and was reversed by far-red light applied immediately after the red or blue light exposure, suggesting that phytochrome is involved in this response. We further found that the free indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) level in hypocotyl regions below the hook was increased by red light, while the level of conjugated IAA was unchanged. Analysis of IAA synthesized from [13C]indole or [13C]tryptophan (Trp) revealed that both Trp-dependent and Trp-independent IAA biosynthesis were increased by low-fluence red light in the top section (meristem, cotyledons, and hook), and the Trp-independent pathway appears to become the primary route for IAA biosynthesis after red light exposure. IAA biosynthesis in tissues below the top section was not affected by red light, suggesting that the increase of free IAA in this region was due to increased transport of IAA from above. Our study provides a comprehensive view of light effects on the transport and biosynthesis of IAA, showing that red light increases both IAA biosynthesis in the top section and polar auxin transport in hypocotyls, leading to unchanged free IAA levels in the top section and increased free IAA levels in the lower hypocotyl regions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)891-904
Number of pages14
JournalPlant physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2011


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