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Auxin controls circadian flower opening and closure in the waterlily

Ke, Meiyu, Gao, Zhen, Chen, Jianqing, Qiu, Yuting, Zhang, Liangsheng, Chen, Xu
BMC plant biology 2018 v.18 no.1 pp. 143
Angiospermae, auxins, cell walls, circadian clocks, corolla, flowering, genes, homeostasis, models, phenotype, photoperiod, plant hormones, pollination, shrinkage, temperature, water lilies
BACKGROUND: Flowers open at sunrise and close at sunset, establishing a circadian floral movement rhythm to facilitate pollination as part of reproduction. By the coordination of endogenous factors and environmental stimuli, such as circadian clock, photoperiod, light and temperature, an appropriate floral movement rhythm has been established; however, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. RESULTS: In our study, we use waterlily as a model which represents an early-diverging grade of flowering plants, and we aim to reveal the general mechanism of flower actions. We found that the intermediate segment of petal cells of waterlily are highly flexible, followed by a circadian cell expansion upon photoperiod stimuli. Auxin causes constitutively flower opening while auxin inhibitor suppresses opening event. Subsequent transcriptome profiles generated from waterlily’s intermediate segment of petals at different day-time points showed that auxin is a crucial phytohormone required for floral movement rhythm via the coordination of YUCCA-controlled auxin synthesis, GH3-mediated auxin homeostasis, PIN and ABCB-dependent auxin efflux as well as TIR/AFB-AUX/IAA- and SAUR-triggered auxin signaling. Genes involved in cell wall organization were downstream of auxin events, resulting in the output phenotypes of rapid cell expansion during flower opening and cell shrinkage at flower closure stage. CONCLUSIONS: Collectively, our data demonstrate a central regulatory role of auxin in floral movement rhythm and provide a global understanding of flower action in waterlily, which could be a conserved feature of angiosperms.