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Thidiazuron (TDZ) is widely used as a defoliant to induce leaf abscission in cotton. However, the underlying molecular mechanism is still unclear. In this study, RNA-seq and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) were performed to reveal the dynamic transcriptome profiling and the change of endogenous phytohormones upon TDZ treatment in leaf, petiole, and abscission zone (AZ). We found that TDZ induced the gene expression of ethylene biosynthesis and signal, and promoted ethylene accumulation earlier in leaf than that in AZ. While TDZ down-regulated indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) biosynthesis genes mainly in leaf and IAA signal and transport genes. Furthermore, the IAA content reduced more sharply in the leaf than that in AZ to change the auxin gradient for abscission. TDZ suppressed CTK biosynthesis genes and induced CTK metabolic genes to reduce the IPA accumulation for the reduction of ethylene sensitivity. Furthermore, TDZ regulated the gene expression of abscisic acid (ABA) biosynthesis and signal and induced ABA accumulation between 12-48 h, which could up-regulate ABA response factor genes and inhibit IAA transporter genes. Our data suggest that TDZ orchestrates metabolism and signal of ethylene, auxin, and cytokinin, and also the transport of auxin in leaf, petiole, and AZ, to control leaf abscission.


Fangjun Li, Qian Wu, Baopeng Liao, Keke Yu, Yini Huo, Lu Meng, Songman Wang, Baomin Wang, Mingwei Du, Xiaoli Tian, Zhaohu Li. Thidiazuron Promotes Leaf Abscission by Regulating the Crosstalk Complexities between Ethylene, Auxin, and Cytokinin in Cotton. International journal of molecular sciences. 2022 Feb 28;23(5)

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PMID: 35269837

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