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A Role For Flavin Monooxygenase-Like Enzymes In Auxin Biosynthesis

Yunde Zhao, Sioux K. Christensen, Christian Fankhauser, John R. Cashman, Jerry D. Cohen, Detlef Weigel, Joanne Chory

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Although auxin is known to regulate many processes in plant development and has been studied for over a century, the mechanisms whereby plants produce it have remained elusive. Here we report the characterization of a dominant Arabidopsis mutant, yucca , which contains elevated levels of free auxin. YUCCA encodes a flavin monooxygenase–like enzyme and belongs to a family that includes at least nine other homologous Arabidopsis genes, a subset of which appears to have redundant functions. Results from tryptophan analog feeding experiments and biochemical assays indicate that YUCCA catalyzes hydroxylation of the amino group of tryptamine, a rate-limiting step in tryptophan-dependent auxin biosynthesis.