The role of auxin in shaping shoot architecture

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The variety of plant architectures observed in nature is predominantly determined by vegetative and reproductive branching patterns, the positioning of lateral organs, and differential stem elongation. Branches, lateral organs, and stems are the final products of the activity of meristems, groups of stem cells whose function is genetically determined and environmentally influenced. Several decades of studies in different plant species have shed light on the essential role of the hormone auxin in plant growth and development. Auxin influences stem elongation and regulates the formation, activity, and fate of meristems, and has therefore been recognized as a major hormone shaping plant architecture. Increasing our knowledge of the molecular mechanisms that regulate auxin function is necessary to understand how different plant species integrate a genetically determined developmental programme, the establishment of a body plan, with constant inputs from the surrounding environment. This information will allow us to develop the molecular tools needed to modify plant architecture in several crop species and in rapidly changing environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2593-2608
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jun 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


  • Auxin
  • inflorescence development
  • maize
  • meristems
  • plant architecture
  • rice


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