Auxin action and auxin-binding proteins



The plant growth regulator auxin mediates an enormous range of developmental and growth responses, some of which are manifest rapidly and others manifest only after considerable lag periods. The protein that perceives auxin, the auxin receptor, has been sought by many laboratories and the search has identified a good number of candidates. However, a receptor must not only bind auxin, but also transduce the auxin stimulus into the responses we recognize. Finding evidence for this second condition has always proved very demanding. A key requisite is a convenient assay for auxin activity and preferably one involving a rapid response because this is likely to be linked directly to the perception event. For one auxin-binding protein (ABP1) there is growing evidence that it is a functional auxin receptor. The assays used in this work have been rapid auxin-induced changes in protoplast electrophysiology. There are many other responses induced rapidly by auxin for which a link to ABP1 has yet to be established. We have reviewed the whole range of rapid auxin-mediated responses and by doing so we hope to have provided a comprehensive picture of the many events to which a receptor (or receptors) must connect. Against this framework we match the known properties of all putative receptors, including ABP1. Not only have we tried to identify auxin-binding proteins unlikely to be receptors, but we also highlight the remaining gaps in our understanding of the more likely receptor candidates.