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Strigolactone inhibition of shoot branching


A carotenoid-derived hormonal signal that inhibits shoot branching in plants has long escaped identification. Strigolactones are compounds thought to be derived from carotenoids and are known to trigger the germination of parasitic plant seeds and stimulate symbiotic fungi. Here we present evidence that carotenoid cleavage dioxygenase 8 shoot branching mutants of pea are strigolactone deficient and that strigolactone application restores the wild-type branching phenotype to ccd8 mutants. Moreover, we show that other branching mutants previously characterized as lacking a response to the branching inhibition signal also lack strigolactone response, and are not deficient in strigolactones. These responses are conserved in Arabidopsis. In agreement with the expected properties of the hormonal signal, exogenous strigolactone can be transported in shoots and act at low concentrations. We suggest that endogenous strigolactones or related compounds inhibit shoot branching in plants. Furthermore, ccd8 mutants demonstrate the diverse effects of strigolactones in shoot branching, mycorrhizal symbiosis and parasitic weed interaction.

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Figure 1: Mycorrhizae and parasitic plant responses in pea ccd8 mutants.
Figure 2: Detection of two strigolactones in pea by LC/MS-MS.
Figure 3: ccd8 mutant root exudates of pea are deficient in strigolactones compared to wild-type and rms4 plants.
Figure 4: GR24 inhibits bud outgrowth in pea.
Figure 5: GR24 inhibits bud outgrowth in Arabidopsis.


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V.G.-R. was supported by the French Ministry of Research and Higher Education. S.F. was supported by a grant from ANR. H. B. and R. M. were supported by a grant from The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO; VICI-grant). The authors are grateful to A. Marion-Poll for discussions, H. M. O. Leyser for supply of the Arabidopsis max4 seed, K. Yoneyama for the gift of orobanchyl acetate, and D. M. Joel for providing O. crenata seeds. The UPLC/QTOF mass spectrometer was made available to us by the Institut des Technologies Avancées du Vivant (Toulouse, France). We thank K. Condon for plant husbandry, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrative Legume Research and the European Union FP6 Grain Legumes Integrated Project for financial support.

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Correspondence to Guillaume Bécard or Catherine Rameau.

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Gomez-Roldan, V., Fermas, S., Brewer, P. et al. Strigolactone inhibition of shoot branching. Nature 455, 189–194 (2008).

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