Microorganisms and their hosts communicate with each other through an array of signals. The plant hormone auxin (indole-3-acetic acid; IAA) is central in many aspects of plant development. Cyclodipeptides and their derivative diketopiperazines (DKPs) constitute a large class of small molecules synthesized by microorganisms with diverse and noteworthy activities. Here, we present genetic, chemical, and plant-growth data showing that in Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the LasI quorum-sensing (QS) system controls the production of three DKPs—namely, cyclo(l-Pro-l-Val), cyclo(l-Pro-l-Phe), and cyclo(l-Pro-l-Tyr)—that are involved in plant growth promotion by this bacterium. Analysis of all three bacterial DKPs in Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings provided detailed information indicative of an auxin-like activity, based on their efficacy at modulating root architecture, activation of auxin-regulated gene expression, and response of auxin-signaling mutants tir1, tir1 afb2 afb3, arf7, arf19, and arf7arf19. The observation that QS-regulated bacterial production of DKPs modulates auxin signaling and plant growth promotion establishes an important function for DKPs mediating prokaryote/eukaryote transkingdom signaling
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