Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Coordination of auxin and ethylene biosynthesis by the aminotransferase VAS1


We identify an Arabidopsis pyridoxal-phosphate–dependent aminotransferase, VAS1, whose loss-of-function simultaneously increases amounts of the phytohormone auxin and the ethylene precursor 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate. VAS1 uses the ethylene biosynthetic intermediate methionine as an amino donor and the auxin biosynthetic intermediate indole-3-pyruvic acid as an amino acceptor to produce L-tryptophan and 2-oxo-4-methylthiobutyric acid. Our data indicate that VAS1 serves key roles in coordinating the amounts of these two vital hormones.

This is a preview of subscription content

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: VAS1 functions in auxin metabolism, downstream of TAA1/SAV3 but upstream of YUCs.
Figure 2: VAS1 encodes a methionine-specific aminotransferase and model for VAS1 metabolic regulation of auxin and ethylene biosynthesis.
Figure 3: Increased ACC in vas1 mutants leads to exaggerated petiole elongation.

Accession codes

Primary accessions



  1. Santner, A. & Estelle, M. Nature 459, 1071–1078 (2009).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Jaillais, Y. & Chory, J. Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol. 17, 642–645 (2010).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Franklin, K.A. New Phytol. 179, 930–944 (2008).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Li, L. et al. Genes Dev. 26, 785–790 (2012).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Tao, Y. et al. Cell 133, 164–176 (2008).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Stepanova, A.N. et al. Cell 133, 177–191 (2008).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Yamada, M., Greenham, K., Prigge, M.J., Jensen, P.J. & Estelle, M. Plant Physiol. 151, 168–179 (2009).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Stepanova, A.N. et al. Plant Cell 23, 3961–3973 (2011).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Won, C. et al. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 108, 18518–18523 (2011).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Mashiguchi, K. et al. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 108, 18512–18517 (2011).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Zhao, Y. Mol Plant 5, 334–338 (2012).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Liepman, A.H. & Olsen, L.I. Crit. Rev. Plant Sci. 23, 73–89 (2004).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Ulmasov, T., Murfett, J., Hagen, G. & Guilfoyle, T.J. Plant Cell 9, 1963–1971 (1997).

    CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  14. Albers, E. IUBMB Life 61, 1132–1142 (2009).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Bürstenbinder, K., Rzewuski, G., Wirtz, M., Hell, R. & Sauter, M. Plant J. 49, 238–249 (2007).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Baur, A.H. & Yang, S.F. Phytochemistry 11, 3207–3214 (1972).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Tsuchisaka, A. & Theologis, A. Plant Physiol. 136, 2982–3000 (2004).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Alonso, J.M., Hirayama, T., Roman, G., Nourizadeh, S. & Ecker, J.R. Science 284, 2148–2152 (1999).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Pierik, R., Djakovic-Petrovic, T., Keuskamp, D.H., de Wit, M. & Voesenek, L.A. Plant Physiol. 149, 1701–1712 (2009).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Poeggeler, B. et al. Brain Res. 815, 382–388 (1999).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Chowdhury, G. et al. Chem. Res. Toxicol. 22, 1905–1912 (2009).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Lukowitz, W., Gillmor, C.S. & Scheible, W.R. Plant Physiol. 123, 795–805 (2000).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Nakagawa, T. et al. J. Biosci. Bioeng. 104, 34–41 (2007).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Jez, J.M., Ferrer, J.L., Bowman, M.E., Dixon, R.A. & Noel, J.P. Biochemistry 39, 890–902 (2000).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Smets, R., Claes, V., Van Onckelen, H.A. & Prinsen, E. J. Chromatogr. A 993, 79–87 (2003).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Edlund, A., Eklof, S., Sundberg, B., Moritz, T. & Sandberg, G. Plant Physiol. 108, 1043–1047 (1995).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Tam, Y.Y. & Normanly, J. J. Chromatogr. A 800, 101–108 (1998).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Kowalczyk, M. & Sandberg, G. Plant Physiol. 127, 1845–1853 (2001).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Rittenberg, D. & Foster, L. J. Biol. Chem. 133, 737–744 (1940).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  30. Tamura, K., Dudley, J., Nei, M. & Kumar, S. Mol. Biol. Evol. 24, 1596–1599 (2007).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


We thank W. Chen for technical assistance and the Arabidopsis Biological Resource Center for mutant seeds. These studies were supported by US National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant 5R01GM52413 to J.C., the Internal Grant Agency of Palacký University (PrF_2012_016) and the Grant Agency of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic (KAN200380801) to O.N., the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems and the Swedish Research Council (K.L.), NIH grant R01GM68631 to Y.Z., the National Science Foundation under award nos. EEC-0813570 and MCB-0645794 to J.P.N. and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (Z.Z., J.P.N., J.C.).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



Z.Z. and Y.G. designed research, performed research, analyzed data and wrote the paper. O.N. and K.L. measured the amount of IAA and 3-IPA and analyzed data. X.D. and Y.Z. provided yuc1-163 yuc4 seeds. J.P.N. and J.C. designed research, analyzed data and wrote the paper.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Joseph P Noel or Joanne Chory.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Text and Figures

Supplementary Results (PDF 14253 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Zheng, Z., Guo, Y., Novák, O. et al. Coordination of auxin and ethylene biosynthesis by the aminotransferase VAS1. Nat Chem Biol 9, 244–246 (2013).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

Further reading


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing