Bulletin of Mathematical Biology

, Volume 78, Issue 2, pp 210–234 | Cite as

GH3-Mediated Auxin Conjugation Can Result in Either Transient or Oscillatory Transcriptional Auxin Responses

  • Nathan Mellor
  • Malcolm J. Bennett
  • John R. King
Original Article


The conjugation of the phytohormone auxin to amino acids via members of the gene family GH3 is an important component in the auxin-degradation pathway in the model plant species Arabidopsis thaliana, as well as many other plant species. Since the GH3 genes are themselves up-regulated in response to auxin, providing a negative feedback on intracellular auxin levels, it is hypothesised that the GH3s have a role in auxin homoeostasis. To investigate this, we develop a mathematical model of auxin signalling and response that includes the auxin-inducible negative feedback from GH3 on the rate of auxin degradation. In addition, we include a positive feedback on the rate of auxin input via the auxin influx transporter LAX3, shown previously to be expressed in response to auxin and to have an important role during lateral root emergence. In the absence of the LAX3 positive feedback, we show that the GH3 negative feedback suffices to generate a transient transcriptional response to auxin in the shape of damped oscillations of the model system. When LAX3 positive feedback is present, sustained oscillations of the system are possible. Using steady-state analyses, we identify and discuss key parameters affecting the oscillatory behaviour of the model. The transient peak of auxin and subsequent transcriptional response caused by the up-regulation of GH3 represents a possible protective homoeostasis mechanism that may be used by plant cells in response to excess auxin.


Auxin Homoeostasis GH3 Conjugation Oscillations 



The work was funded by the University of Nottingham through the Integrated Doctoral Training Centre at the Multidisciplinary Centre for Integrated Biology, and we also acknowledge the support of the European Research Community Advanced Investigator Funding to M.J.B (FUTUREROOTS). We are also grateful to the referees for their helpful suggestions, in particular in raising some of the open experimental questions noted in Sect. 7.


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Copyright information

© Society for Mathematical Biology 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Plant Integrative Biology, School of BiosciencesUniversity of NottinghamLoughboroughUK
  2. 2.School of Mathematical SciencesUniversity of NottinghamNottinghamUK

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