The power of chemical genomics to study the link between endomembrane system components and the gravitropic response

Marci Surpin, Marcela Rojas-Pierce, Clay Carter, Glenn R. Hicks, Jacob Vasquez, Natasha V. Raikhel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Chemical genomics is a powerful approach to dissect processes that may be intractable using conventional genetics because of gene lethality or redundancy. Recently, a link has been established between endomembrane trafficking and gravitropism. To understand this link, we screened a library of 10,000 diverse chemicals for compounds that affected the gravitropism of Arabidopsis seedlings positively or negatively. Sixty-nine of 219 compounds from the primary screen were retested, and 34 of these were confirmed to inhibit or enhance gravitropism. Four of the 34 compounds were found to cause aberrant endomembrane morphologies. The chemicals affected gravitropism and vacuole morphology in concert in a tissue-specific manner, underscoring the link between endomembranes and gravitropism. One of the chemicals (5403629) was structurally similar to the synthetic auxin 2,4-dichlorophenoxy acetate, whereas the other three chemicals were unique in their structures. An in vivo functional assay using the reporter β-glucuronidase under the auxin-inducible DR5 promoter confirmed that the unique compounds were not auxins. Interestingly, one of the unique chemicals (5850247) appeared to decrease the responsiveness to auxin in roots, whereas another (5271050) was similar to pyocyanin, a bacterial metabolite that has been suggested to target the endomembranes of yeast. These reagents will be valuable for dissecting endomembrane trafficking and gravitropism and for cognate target identification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4902-4907
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number13
StatePublished - Mar 29 2005


  • Chemicals
  • GFP
  • Gravitropism
  • Trafficking
  • Vacuoles


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