Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract

Investigating a potential auxin-related mode of hormetic/inhibitory action of the phytotoxin parthenin.

Abstract

Parthenin is a metabolite of Parthenium hysterophorus and is believed to contribute to the weed's invasiveness via allelopathy. Despite the potential of parthenin to suppress competitors, low doses stimulate plant growth. This biphasic action was hypothesized to be auxin-like and, therefore, an auxin-related mode of parthenin action was investigated using two approaches: joint action experiments with Lactuca sativa, and dose-response experiments with auxin/antiauxin-resistant Arabidopsis thaliana genotypes. The joint action approach comprised binary mixtures of subinhibitory doses of the auxin 3-indoleacetic acid (IAA) mixed with parthenin or one of three reference compounds [indole-3-butyric acid (IBA), 2,3,5-triiodobenzoic acid (TIBA), 2-(p-chlorophenoxy)-2-methylpropionic acid (PCIB)]. The reference compounds significantly interacted with IAA at all doses, but parthenin interacted only at low doses indicating that parthenin hormesis may be auxin-related, in contrast to its inhibitory action. The genetic approach investigated the response of four auxin/antiauxin-resistant mutants and a wildtype to parthenin or two reference compounds (IAA, PCIB). The responses of mutant plants to the reference compounds confirmed previous reports, but differed from the responses observed for parthenin. Parthenin stimulated and inhibited all mutants independent of resistance. This provided no indication for an auxin-related action of parthenin. Therefore, the hypothesis of an auxin-related inhibitory action of parthenin was rejected in two independent experimental approaches, while the hypothesis of an auxin-related stimulatory effect could not be rejected.