The plant hormone auxin (indole-3-acetic acid, IAA) controls growth and developmental responses throughout the life of a plant. A combination of molecular, genetic and biochemical approaches has identified several key components involved in auxin signal transduction. Rapid auxin responses in the nucleus include transcriptional activation of auxin-regulated genes and degradation of transcriptional repressor proteins. The nuclear auxin receptor is an integral component of the protein degradation machinery. Although auxin signalling in the nucleus appears to be short and simple, recent studies indicate that there is a high degree of diversity and complexity, largely due to the existence of multigene families for each of the major molecular components. Current studies are attempting to identify interacting partners among these families, and to define the molecular mechanisms involved in the interactions. Future goals are to determine the levels of regulation of the key components of the transcriptional complex, to identify higher-order complexes and to integrate this pathway with other auxin signal transduction pathways, such as the pathway that is activated by auxin binding to a different receptor at the outer surface of the plasma membrane. In this case, auxin binding triggers a signal cascade that affects a number of rapid cytoplasmic responses. Details of this pathway are currently under investigation.

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