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Auxin is the 'growth hormone' and modulation of its concentration correlates with changes in photosynthesis and respiration, influencing the cellular energy budget for biosynthesis and proliferation. However, the relative importance of mechanisms by which auxin directly influences photosynthesis and respiration, or vice versa, are unclear. Here we bring together recent evidence linking auxin with photosynthesis, plastid biogenesis, mitochondrial metabolism and retrograde signalling and through it we propose three hypotheses to test to unify current findings. These require delving into the control of auxin conjugation to primary metabolic intermediates, translational control under auxin regulation and post-translational influences of auxin on primary metabolic processes.