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The gibberellin precursor GA12 acts as a long-distance growth signal in Arabidopsis

Nature Plants volume 1, Article number: 15073 (2015) | Download Citation



The gibberellin (GA) phytohormones play important roles in plant growth and development, promoting seed germination, elongation growth and reproductive development1. Over the years, substantial progress has been made in understanding the regulation of GA signalling and metabolism, which ensures appropriate levels of GAs for growth and development2. Moreover, an additional level of regulation may reside in the transport of GAs from production sites to recipient tissues that require GAs for growth. Although there is considerable evidence suggesting the existence of short- and long-distance movement of GAs in plants3,​4,​5,​6,​7,​8, the nature and the biological properties of this transport are not yet understood. Here, we combine biochemical and conventional micrografting experiments in Arabidopsis thaliana to show that the GA precursor GA12, although biologically inactive by itself, is the major mobile GA signal over long distances. Quantitative analysis of endogenous GAs in xylem and phloem exudates further indicates that GA12 moves through the plant vascular system. Finally, we demonstrate that GA12 is functional in recipient tissues, supporting growth via the activation of the GA signalling cascade. Collectively, these results reveal the existence of long-range transport of endogenous GA12 in plants that may have implications for the control of developmental phase transitions and the adaptation to adverse environments.

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We thank C.A. Brosnan for help with the grafts, S. Dinant and L. Otten for help with xylem and phloem sap analysis, M. Lecorbeiller for statistical analysis, Tp. Sun for providing seeds of ga1-3 (Ler and Col-0 backgrounds), ga3ox1 ga3ox2 and pRGA:GFP–RGA, C. Schwechheimer for RGA antibody, and P. Genschik, B. Lacombe, C. Rameau, T. Heitz and D. Werck for helpful discussions. This work was supported by the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and the French ministry of research and higher education.

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Author notes

    • Thomas Regnault
    • , Michael Wild
    •  & Fan Gong

    Present addresses: Department of Plant Systems Biology, Freising 85354, Germany (T.R.); University of Freiburg, Freiburg 79104, Germany (M.W.); Home Office Science – Centre for Applied Science and Technology, Woodcock Hill, Sandridge, St Albans, Hertfordshire AL4 9HQ, UK (F.G.).


  1. Institut de Biologie Moléculaire des Plantes, UPR2357, associé avec l'Université de Strasbourg, Strasbourg 67084, France

    • Thomas Regnault
    • , Jean-Michel Davière
    • , Michael Wild
    • , Lali Sakvarelidze-Achard
    • , Dimitri Heintz
    •  & Patrick Achard
  2. Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular de Plantas, CSIC-UPV, Valencia 46022, Spain

    • Esther Carrera Bergua
    •  & Isabel Lopez Diaz
  3. Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, Hertfordshire AL5 2JQ, UK

    • Fan Gong
    •  & Peter Hedden


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T.R., J.M.D., L.S.A., D.H., E.C.B., I.L.D., F.G. and P.A. performed experimental work; T.R., J.M.D., M.W., P.H. and P.A. designed the experiments; T.R., J.M.D., P.H. and P.A. wrote the paper.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Correspondence to Patrick Achard.

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