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Curr Biol. 2008 Apr 8;18(7):526-31. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2008.03.021.

ARF GEF-dependent transcytosis and polar delivery of PIN auxin carriers in Arabidopsis.

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Department of Plant Systems Biology, Flanders Institute for Biotechnology VIB, Ghent University, 9052 Gent, Belgium.


Cell polarity manifested by the polar cargo delivery to different plasma-membrane domains is a fundamental feature of multicellular organisms. Pathways for polar delivery have been identified in animals; prominent among them is transcytosis, which involves cargo movement between different sides of the cell [1]. PIN transporters are prominent polar cargoes in plants, whose polar subcellular localization determines the directional flow of the signaling molecule auxin [2, 3]. In this study, we address the cellular mechanisms of PIN polar targeting and dynamic polarity changes. We show that apical and basal PIN targeting pathways are interconnected but molecularly distinct by means of ARF GEF vesicle-trafficking regulators. Pharmacological or genetic interference with the Arabidopsis ARF GEF GNOM leads specifically to apicalization of basal cargoes such as PIN1. We visualize the translocation of PIN proteins between the opposite sides of polarized cells in vivo and show that this PIN transcytosis occurs by endocytic recycling and alternative recruitment of the same cargo molecules by apical and basal targeting machineries. Our data suggest that an ARF GEF-dependent transcytosis-like mechanism is operational in plants and provides a plausible mechanism to trigger changes in PIN polarity and hence auxin fluxes during embryogenesis and organogenesis.

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