Indexed on: 08 Aug '06Published on: 08 Aug '06Published in: Plant physiology
Adenosine kinase (ADK) is a key enzyme that regulates intra- and extracellular levels of adenosine, thereby modulating methyltransferase reactions, production of polyamines and secondary compounds, and cell signaling in animals. Unfortunately, little is known about ADK's contribution to the regulation of plant growth and development. Here, we show that ADK is a modulator of root cap morphogenesis and gravitropism. Upon gravistimulation, soluble ADK levels and activity increase in the root tip. Mutation in one of two Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) ADK genes, ADK1, results in cap morphogenesis defects, along with alterations in root sensitivity to gravistimulation and slower kinetics of root gravitropic curvature. The kinetics defect can be partially rescued by adding spermine to the growth medium, whereas the defects in cap morphogenesis and gravitropic sensitivity cannot. The root morphogenesis and gravitropism defects of adk1-1 are accompanied by altered expression of the PIN3 auxin efflux facilitator in the cap and decreased expression of the auxin-responsive DR5-GUS reporter. Furthermore, PIN3 fails to relocalize to the bottom membrane of statocytes upon gravistimulation. Consequently, adk1-1 roots cannot develop a lateral auxin gradient across the cap, necessary for the curvature response. Interestingly, adk1-1 does not affect gravity-induced cytoplasmic alkalinization of the root statocytes, suggesting either that ADK1 functions between cytoplasmic alkalinization and PIN3 relocalization in a linear pathway or that the pH and PIN3-relocalization responses to gravistimulation belong to distinct branches of the pathway. Our data are consistent with a role for ADK and the S-adenosyl-L-methionine pathway in the control of root gravitropism and cap morphogenesis.