Here we report new insights on the adventitious rooting adjuvant activity of 1,3-di(benzo[d]oxazol-5- yl)urea (5-BDPU) and 1,3-di(benzo[d]oxazol-6-yl)urea (6- BDPU), both symmetrically substituted urea derivatives that do not show either auxin- or cytokinin-like activity per se. Our data demonstrate that these synthetic molecules enhance adventitious rooting in distantly-related herbaceous and woody species, in the presence of endogenous or exogenous auxin. For the first time, we report that BDPUs enhance adventitious rooting in the presence of either indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) or 1-naphtalene acetic acid and that their optimal concentration depends on the strength of the exogenous auxin. Trying to understand the mode of action of BDPUs, we also show that their adventitious rooting adjuvant activity correlates with high mRNA levels of auxin-responsive genes related to the adventitious rooting process at the very early stages of adventitious rooting, before the activation of cell divisions in pine hypocotyls cuttings. The high mRNA levels are measured in the presence of low auxin concentrations and BDPUs. The mRNA levels quantified in these conditions are similar to those measured in the presence of high auxin concentrations but in the absence of BDPUs. In addition, the spatial distribution of endogenous auxin is localized in globular-shaped structures of cell divisions located centrifugal to the resin canals, at the positions of adventitious root formation, in the presence of urea derivatives and IBA after 6 days of the root induction process.
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