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Plant Physiol. 2009 Jun;150(2):722-35. doi: 10.1104/pp.108.131607. Epub 2009 Apr 10.

PINOID kinase regulates root gravitropism through modulation of PIN2-dependent basipetal auxin transport in Arabidopsis.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27109, USA.


Reversible protein phosphorylation is a key regulatory mechanism governing polar auxin transport. We characterized the auxin transport and gravitropic phenotypes of the pinoid-9 (pid-9) mutant of Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) and tested the hypothesis that phosphorylation mediated by PID kinase and dephosphorylation regulated by the ROOTS CURL IN NAPHTHYLPHTHALAMIC ACID1 (RCN1) protein might antagonistically regulate root auxin transport and gravity response. Basipetal indole-3-acetic acid transport and gravitropism are reduced in pid-9 seedlings, while acropetal transport and lateral root development are unchanged. Treatment of wild-type seedlings with the protein kinase inhibitor staurosporine phenocopies the reduced auxin transport and gravity response of pid-9, while pid-9 is resistant to inhibition by staurosporine. Staurosporine and the phosphatase inhibitor, cantharidin, delay the asymmetric expression of DR5revGFP (green fluorescent protein) at the root tip after gravistimulation. Gravity response defects of rcn1 and pid-9 are partially rescued by treatment with staurosporine and cantharidin, respectively. The pid-9 rcn1 double mutant has a more rapid gravitropic response than rcn1. These data are consistent with a reciprocal regulation of gravitropism by RCN1 and PID. Furthermore, the effect of staurosporine is lost in pinformed2 (pin2). Our data suggest that reduced PID kinase function inhibits gravitropism and basipetal indole-3-acetic acid transport. However, in contrast to PID overexpression studies, we observed wild-type asymmetric membrane distribution of the PIN2 protein in both pid-9 and wild-type root tips, although PIN2 accumulates in endomembrane structures in pid-9 roots. Similarly, staurosporine-treated plants expressing a PIN2GFP fusion exhibit endomembrane accumulation of PIN2GFP, but no changes in membrane asymmetries were detected. Our data suggest that PID plays a limited role in root development; loss of PID activity alters auxin transport and gravitropism without causing an obvious change in cellular polarity.

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