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Phytohormones regulate plant development via a poorly understood signal response network. Here, we show that the phytohormone ethylene regulates plant development at least in part via alteration of the properties of DELLA protein nuclear growth repressors, a family of proteins first identified as gibberellin (GA) signaling components. This conclusion is based on the following experimental observations. First, ethylene inhibited Arabidopsis root growth in a DELLA-dependent manner. Second, ethylene delayed the GA-induced disappearance of the DELLA protein repressor of ga1-3 from root cell nuclei via a constitutive triple response-dependent signaling pathway. Third, the ethylene-promoted "apical hook" structure of etiolated seedling hypocotyls was dependent on the relief of DELLA-mediated growth restraint. Ethylene, auxin, and GA responses now can be attributed to effects on DELLA function, suggesting that DELLA plays a key integrative role in the phytohormone signal response network.

Original publication




Journal article


Plant Cell

Publication Date





2816 - 2825


Arabidopsis, Arabidopsis Proteins, Ethylenes, Germination, Gibberellins, Green Fluorescent Proteins, Indoleacetic Acids, Luminescent Proteins, Multigene Family, Plant Growth Regulators, Plant Proteins, Plant Roots, Protein Kinases, Recombinant Fusion Proteins, Seeds, Signal Transduction, Transcription Factors