Auxin/indole-3-acetic acid (Aux/IAA) proteins function as repressors of auxin response gene expression when auxin concentrations in a cell are low. At elevated auxin concentrations, these repressors are destroyed via the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway, resulting in derepression/activation of auxin response genes. Most Aux/IAA repressors contain four conserved domains, with one of these being an active, portable repression domain (domain I) and a second being an auxin-dependent instability domain (domain II). Here, we have analyzed the effects of amino acid substitutions in the repression domain of selected Aux/IAA proteins. We show that stabilized versions of Aux/IAA proteins with amino acid substitutions in domain I display contrasting phenotypes when expressed in transformed Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) plants. An alanine-for-leucine substitution in the LxLxL (where L is leucine and x is another amino acid) repression domain of IAA3, IAA6, or IAA19 confers enhanced auxin response gene expression and “high-auxin” phenotypes when expressed from the 35S or IAA19 promoter (as tested with IAA19) in transformed Arabidopsis plants. In marked contrast, a single alanine-for-leucine substitution in domain I of IAA12 or IAA17 confers repression of auxin response genes and “low-auxin” phenotypes. These results point to intrinsic differences in the repression domain(s) of IAA proteins and suggest that some IAA proteins have stronger or more complex repression domains than others
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