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Plant Cell. 2010 Apr;22(4):1129-42. doi: 10.1105/tpc.109.072678. Epub 2010 Apr 20.

Phosphorylation of conserved PIN motifs directs Arabidopsis PIN1 polarity and auxin transport.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Developmental Genetics, Institute of Biology, Leiden University, 2333 EB Leiden, The Netherlands.


Polar cell-to-cell transport of auxin by plasma membrane-localized PIN-FORMED (PIN) auxin efflux carriers generates auxin gradients that provide positional information for various plant developmental processes. The apical-basal polar localization of the PIN proteins that determines the direction of auxin flow is controlled by reversible phosphorylation of the PIN hydrophilic loop (PINHL). Here, we identified three evolutionarily conserved TPRXS(N/S) motifs within the PIN1HL and proved that the central Ser residues were phosphorylated by the PINOID (PID) kinase. Loss-of-phosphorylation PIN1:green fluorescent protein (GFP) (Ser to Ala) induced inflorescence defects, correlating with their basal localization in the shoot apex, and induced internalization of PIN1:GFP during embryogenesis, leading to strong embryo defects. Conversely, phosphomimic PIN1:GFP (Ser to Glu) showed apical localization in the shoot apex but did not rescue pin1 inflorescence defects. Both loss-of-phosphorylation and phosphomimic PIN1:GFP proteins were insensitive to PID overexpression. The basal localization of loss-of-phosphorylation PIN1:GFP increased auxin accumulation in the root tips, partially rescuing PID overexpression-induced root collapse. Collectively, our data indicate that reversible phosphorylation of the conserved Ser residues in the PIN1HL by PID (and possibly by other AGC kinases) is required and sufficient for proper PIN1 localization and is thus essential for generating the differential auxin distribution that directs plant development.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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