Auxin-Induced Modulation of ETTIN Activity Orchestrates Gene Expression in Arabidopsis.
The phytohormone auxin governs crucial developmental decisions throughout the plant life cycle. Auxin signaling is effectuated by auxin response factors (ARFs) whose activity is repressed by Aux/IAA proteins under low auxin levels, but relieved from repression when cellular auxin concentrations increase. ARF3/ETTIN (ETT) is a conserved noncanonical Arabidopsis thaliana ARF that adopts an alternative auxin-sensing mode of translating auxin levels into multiple transcriptional outcomes. However, a mechanistic model for how this auxin-dependent modulation of ETT activity regulates gene expression has not yet been elucidated. Here, we take a genome-wide approach to show how ETT controls developmental processes in the Arabidopsis shoot through its auxin-sensing property. Moreover, analysis of direct ETT targets suggests that ETT functions as a central node in coordinating auxin dynamics and plant development and reveals tight feedback regulation at both the transcriptional and protein-interaction levels. Finally, we present an example to demonstrate how auxin sensitivity of ETT-protein interactions can shape the composition of downstream transcriptomes to ensure specific developmental outcomes. These results show that direct effects of auxin on protein factors, such as ETT-TF complexes, comprise an important part of auxin biology and likely contribute to the vast number of biological processes affected by this simple molecule.