The plant signaling molecule auxin is present in multiple kingdoms of life. Since its discovery, a century of research has been focused on its action as a phytohormone. In land plants, auxin regulates growth and development through transcriptional and non-transcriptional programs. Some of the molecular mechanisms underlying these responses are well understood, mainly in Arabidopsis. Recently, the availability of genomic and transcriptomic data of green lineages, together with phylogenetic inference, has provided the basis to reconstruct the evolutionary history of some components involved in auxin biology. In this review, we follow the evolutionary trajectory that allowed auxin to become the “giant” of plant biology by focusing on bryophytes and streptophyte algae. We consider auxin biosynthesis, transport, physiological, and molecular responses, as well as evidence supporting the role of auxin as a chemical messenger for communication within ecosystems. Finally, we emphasize that functional validation of predicted orthologs will shed light on the conserved properties of auxin biology among streptophytes.
- hormone response
- plant biology