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cis-Cinnamic acid is a natural plant growth-promoting compound
Journal Contribution - Journal Article
Agrochemicals provide vast potential to improve plant productivity, because they are easy to implement at low cost while not being restricted by species barriers as compared to breeding strategies. Despite the general interest, only few compounds with growth-promoting activity have been described so far. Here, we add cis-cinnamic acid (c-CA) to the small portfolio of existing plant growth stimulators. When applied at low micromolar concentrations to Arabidopsis roots, c-CA stimulates both cell division and cell expansion in leaves. Our data support a model explaining the increase in shoot biomass as the consequence of a larger root system, which allows the plant to explore larger areas for resources. The requirement of the cis-configuration for the growth-promoting activity of CA was validated by implementing stable structural analogs of both cis- and trans-CA in this study. In a complementary approach, we used specific light conditions to prevent cis/trans-isomerization of CA during the experiment. In both cases the cis-form stimulated plant growth, whereas the trans-form was inactive. Based on these data, we conclude that c-CA is an appealing lead compound representing a novel class of growth-promoting agrochemicals. Unraveling the underlying molecular mechanism could lead to the development of innovative strategies for boosting plant biomass.
Journal: Journal of Experimental Botany
Pages: 6293 - 6304