Novel markers for high-throughput protoplast-based analyses of phytohormone signaling

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Phytohormones mediate most diverse processes in plants, ranging from organ development to immune responses. Receptor protein complexes perceive changes in intracellular phytohormone levels and trigger a signaling cascade to effectuate downstream responses. The in planta analysis of elements involved in phytohormone signaling can be achieved through transient expression in mesophyll protoplasts, which are a fast and versatile alternative to generating plant lines that stably express a transgene. While promoter-reporter constructs have been used successfully to identify internal or external factors that change phytohormone signaling, the range of available marker constructs does not meet the potential of the protoplast technique for large scale approaches. The aim of our study was to provide novel markers for phytohormone signaling in the Arabidopsis mesophyll protoplast system. We validated 18 promoter::luciferase constructs towards their phytohormone responsiveness and specificity and suggest an experimental setup for high-throughput analyses. We recommend novel markers for the analysis of auxin, abscisic acid, cytokinin, salicylic acid and jasmonic acid responses that will facilitate future screens for biological elements and environmental stimuli affecting phytohormone signaling.