Role of Arabidopsis INDOLE-3-ACETIC ACID CARBOXYL METHYLTRANSFERASE 1 in auxin metabolism.Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2020 07 05; 527(4):1033-1038.BB
The phytohormone auxin regulates a wide range of developmental processes in plants. Indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) is the main auxin that moves in a polar manner and forms concentration gradients, whereas phenylacetic acid (PAA), another natural auxin, does not exhibit polar movement. Although these auxins occur widely in plants, the differences between IAA and PAA metabolism remain largely unknown. In this study, we investigated the role of Arabidopsis IAA CARBOXYL METHYLTRANSFERASE 1 (IAMT1) in IAA and PAA metabolism. IAMT1 proteins expressed in Escherichia coli could convert both IAA and PAA to their respective methyl esters. Overexpression of IAMT1 caused severe auxin-deficient phenotypes and reduced the levels of IAA, but not PAA, in the root tips of Arabidopsis, suggesting that IAMT1 exclusively metabolizes IAA in vivo. We generated iamt1 null mutants via CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genome editing and found that the single knockout mutants had normal auxin levels and did not exhibit visibly altered phenotypes. These results suggest that other proteins, namely the IAMT1 homologs in the SABATH family of carboxyl methyltransferases, may also regulate IAA levels in Arabidopsis.