Internal oxygen diffusion from shoot to root tips is enhanced by the formation of aerenchyma (gas space) in waterlogged soils. Lysigenous aerenchyma is created by programmed cell death and subsequent lysis of the root cortical cells. Rice (Oryza sativa
) forms aerenchyma constitutively under aerobic conditions and increases its formation under oxygen-deficient conditions. Recently, we have demonstrated that constitutive aerenchyma formation is regulated by auxin signaling mediated by Auxin/indole-3-acetic acid protein (AUX/IAA; IAA). While ethylene is involved in inducible aerenchyma formation, the relationship of auxin and ethylene during aerenchyma formation remains unclear. Here, we examined the effects of oxygen deficiency and ethylene on aerenchyma formation in the roots of a rice mutant (iaa13
) in which auxin signaling is suppressed by a mutation in the degradation domain of IAA13 protein. The results showed that AUX/IAA-mediated auxin signaling contributes to ethylene-dependent inducible aerenchyma formation in rice roots. An auxin transport inhibitor abolished aerenchyma formation under oxygen-deficient conditions and reduced the expression of genes encoding ethylene biosynthesis enzymes, further supporting the idea that auxin is involved in ethylene-dependent inducible aerenchyma formation. Based on these studies, we propose a mechanism that underlies the relationship between auxin and ethylene during inducible aerenchyma formation in rice roots.
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