Local conjugation of auxin by the GH3 amido synthetases is required for normal development of roots and flowers in Arabidopsis.Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2022 01 22; 589:16-22.BB
Gretchen Hagen 3 (GH3) amido synthetases conjugate amino acids to a carboxyl group of small molecules including hormones auxin, jasmonate, and salicylic acid. The Arabidopsis genome harbors 19 GH3 genes, whose exact roles in plant development have been difficult to define because of genetic redundancy among the GH3 genes. Here we use CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technology to delete the Arabidopsis group II GH3 genes, which are able to conjugate indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) to amino acids. We show that plants lacking the eight group II GH3 genes (gh3 octuple mutants) accumulate free IAA and fail to produce IAA-Asp and IAA-Glu conjugates. Consequently, gh3 octuple mutants have extremely short roots, long and dense root hairs, and long hypocotyls. Our characterization of gh3 septuple mutants, which provide sensitized backgrounds, reveals that GH3.17 and GH3.9 play prominent roles in root elongation and seed production, respectively. We show that GH3 functions correlate with their expression patterns, suggesting that local deactivation of auxin also contributes to maintaining auxin homeostasis. Moreover, this work provides a method for elucidating functions of individual members of a gene family, whose members have overlapping functions.