On the Evolutionary Origins of Land Plant Auxin Biology

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Indole-3-acetic acid, that is, auxin, is a molecule found in a broad phylogenetic distribution of organisms, from bacteria to eukaryotes. In the ancestral land plant auxin was co-opted to be the paramount phytohormone mediating tropic responses and acting as a facilitator of developmental decisions throughout the life cycle. The evolutionary origins of land plant auxin biology genes can now be traced with reasonable clarity. Genes encoding the two enzymes of the land plant auxin biosynthetic pathway arose in the ancestral land plant by a combination of horizontal gene transfer from bacteria and possible neofunctionalization following gene duplication. Components of the auxin transcriptional signaling network have their origins in ancestral alga genes, with gene duplication and neofunctionalization of key domains allowing integration of a portion of the preexisting transcriptional network with auxin. Knowledge of the roles of orthologous genes in extant charophycean algae is lacking, but could illuminate the ancestral functions of both auxin and the co-opted transcriptional network.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbera040048v1
Number of pages20
JournalCold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2021

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