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Plant Cell. 2012 Feb;24(2):551-65. doi: 10.1105/tpc.111.094284. Epub 2012 Feb 28.

The signal transducer NPH3 integrates the phototropin1 photosensor with PIN2-based polar auxin transport in Arabidopsis root phototropism.

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  • 1Key Laboratory of Plant Molecular Physiology, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China.


Under blue light (BL) illumination, Arabidopsis thaliana roots grow away from the light source, showing a negative phototropic response. However, the mechanism of root phototropism is still unclear. Using a noninvasive microelectrode system, we showed that the BL sensor phototropin1 (phot1), the signal transducer NONPHOTOTROPIC HYPOCOTYL3 (NPH3), and the auxin efflux transporter PIN2 were essential for BL-induced auxin flux in the root apex transition zone. We also found that PIN2-green fluorescent protein (GFP) localized to vacuole-like compartments (VLCs) in dark-grown root epidermal and cortical cells, and phot1/NPH3 mediated a BL-initiated pathway that caused PIN2 redistribution to the plasma membrane. When dark-grown roots were exposed to brefeldin A (BFA), PIN2-GFP remained in VLCs in darkness, and BL caused PIN2-GFP disappearance from VLCs and induced PIN2-GFP-FM4-64 colocalization within enlarged compartments. In the nph3 mutant, both dark and BL BFA treatments caused the disappearance of PIN2-GFP from VLCs. However, in the phot1 mutant, PIN2-GFP remained within VLCs under both dark and BL BFA treatments, suggesting that phot1 and NPH3 play different roles in PIN2 localization. In conclusion, BL-induced root phototropism is based on the phot1/NPH3 signaling pathway, which stimulates the shootward auxin flux by modifying the subcellular targeting of PIN2 in the root apex transition zone.

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