The degree of shoot branching in Arabidopsis is determined by the activation of axillary buds. Bud activity is regulated by diverse environmental and developmental signals, often mediated via plant hormones including auxin, strigolactone and cytokinin. The transcription factor, BRANCHED1 (BRC1), has been proposed to integrate these regulatory signals. This idea is based on increased branching in brc1 mutants, the effects of bud-regulating hormones on BRC1 expression, and a general correlation between BRC1 expression and bud growth inhibition. These data demonstrate the important role of BRC1 in shoot branching, but here we show that in Arabidopsis this correlation can be broken. Buds lacking BRC1 expression can remain inhibited and sensitive to inhibition by strigolactone. Furthermore, buds with high BRC1 transcript levels can be active. Based on these data, we propose that BRC1 regulates bud activation potential in concert with an auxin-transport based mechanism underpinning bud activity. In the context of strigolactone-mediated bud regulation, our data suggest a coherent feed-forward loop in which strigolactone treatment reduces the probability of bud activation by parallel effects on BRC1 transcription and the shoot auxin transport network.
- Received October 10, 2016.
- Accepted March 7, 2017.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium provided that the original work is properly attributed.