Alkamides isolated from plants promote growth and alter root development in Arabidopsis

Enrique Ramírez-Chávez, José López-Bucio, Luis Herrera-Estrella, Jorge Molina-Torres

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71 Scopus citations


To date, several classes of hormones have been described that influence plant development, including auxins, cytokinins, ethylene, and, more recently, brassinosteroids. However, it is known that many fungal and bacterial species produce substances that alter plant growth that, if naturally present in plants, might represent novel classes of plant growth regulators. Alkamides are metabolites widely distributed in plants with a broad range of biological activities. In this work, we investigated the effects of affinin, an alkamide naturally occurring in plants, and its derivates, N-isobutyl-2E-decenamide and N-isobutyl-decanamide, on plant growth and early root development in Arabidopsis. We found that treatments with affinin in the range of 10 -6 to 10-4 M alter shoot and root biomass production. This effect correlated with alteration on primary root growth, lateral root formation, and root hair elongation. Low concentrations of affinin (7 × 10-6-2.8 × 10-5 M) enhanced primary root growth and root hair elongation, whereas higher concentrations inhibited primary root growth that related with a reduction in cell proliferating activity and cell elongation. N-isobutyl-2E-decenamide and N-isobutyl-decanamide were found to stimulate root hair elongation at concentrations between 10-8 to 10-7 M. Although the effects of alkamides were similar to those produced by auxins on root growth and cell parameters, the ability of the root system to respond to affinin was found to be independent of auxin signaling. Our results suggest that alkamides may represent a new group of plant growth promoting substances with significant impact on root development and opens the possibility of using these compounds for improved plant production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1058-1068
Number of pages11
JournalPlant physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2004


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