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Sensor important to understanding root, seedling development
Date:8/23/2010

mation to show whether the hormone is moving into or out of cells. This allows the sensor to be self-referencing, eliminates the need for auxin application, and allows instantaneous and continuous measurements to be made during root growth.

Other current methods based on radioisotope tracers and auxin-responsive fluorescent proteins inserted into the plant can detect changes taking place over hours. Most auxin responses take place on a timescale of minutes.

Murphy said auxin movement is key to how plants adapt to their environments. He said that the effort to develop the sensor with Porterfield originated with the need to improve real-time measurement capability and develop a method that allows comparison with other measurements to better understand how auxin transport and other biological functions are connected.

"Using sensors like this, we can get answers that just aren't possible with existing tools," Murphy said. "Being able to measure the efflux and uptake simultaneously is really essential to a lot of ongoing work."

Murphy and Porterfield were looking for a simple model to use to test the sensor and chose an auxin transport mutant in corn. Wendy Peer, a Purdue assistant professor of horticulture and a paper co-author who studies seedling development and establishment, collaborated with Murphy in a detailed analysis of auxin transport in mutant and control corn roots using traditional methods. The information was then used to validate the sensor's functionality.

Murphy plans to continue testing on other auxin-related mutants. The National Science Foundation and the U. S. Department of Energy funded the research.


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Contact: Brian Wallheimer
bwallhei@purdue.edu
765-496-2050
Purdue University
Source:Eurekalert  

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