A new discovery has revealed the effects of plant hormones on plant development and growth, as well as how these hormones interact together. The team of researchers, involving ARC Future Fellow, Dr Philip Brewer discovered that when strigolactones are applied to vascular plants, auxin is suppressed and transport of it is reduced.
Strigolactone hormones are known to help the plant in response to environmental conditions, including optimising the plant’s growth to match the nutrient levels of the soil it grows in, while auxin is the main hormone involved in vein formation in vascular plants. The interactions between the two hormones were observed in pea and thale cress plants, with slower vein formation in plants where strigolactones were applied. More specifically, the strigolactones were found to limit the way auxin promotes its own transport out of cells. It is thought that with suppressed transportation of auxin, the vein formation in plants occurs with greater focus at the slower rate.
While these findings are particularly useful to the fundamental knowledge of plant biology and have the potential to improve crop productivity, more research is needed into how hormones act in order to realise the benefits and limit the side effects of hormone responses. The discovery of these interactions between strigolactones and auxin offer hope of finding new ways to adapt crops for the changing and difficult climate conditions facing agriculture.
Dr Philip Brewers paper investigating how strigolactones affect the transportation of auxin has been published in Nature Communications.