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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Jan 21;111(3):1198-203. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1316109111. Epub 2014 Jan 6.

MAB4-induced auxin sink generates local auxin gradients in Arabidopsis organ formation.

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Graduate School of Biological Sciences, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, Nara 630-0192, Japan.


In Arabidopsis, leaves and flowers form cyclically in the shoot meristem periphery and are triggered by local accumulations of the plant hormone auxin. Auxin maxima are established by the auxin efflux carrier PIN-formed1 (PIN1). During organ formation, two distinct types of PIN1 polarization occur. First, convergence of PIN1 polarity in the surface of the meristem creates local auxin peaks. Second, basipetal PIN1 polarization causes auxin to move away from the surface in the middle of an incipient organ primordium, thought to contribute to vascular formation. Several mathematical models have been developed in attempts to explain the PIN1 localization pattern. However, the molecular mechanisms that control these dynamic changes are unknown. Here, we show that loss-of-function in the MACCHI-BOU 4 (MAB4) family genes, which encode nonphototropic hypocotyl 3-like proteins and regulate PIN endocytosis, cause deletion of basipetal PIN1 polarization, resulting in extensive auxin accumulation all over the meristem surface from lack of a sink for auxin. These results indicate that the MAB4 family genes establish inward auxin transport from the L1 surface of incipient organ primordia by basipetal PIN1 polarization, and that this behavior is essential for the progression of organ development. Furthermore, the expression of the MAB4 family genes depends on auxin response. Our results define two distinct molecular mechanisms for PIN1 polarization during organ development and indicate that an auxin response triggers the switching between these two mechanisms.


organogenesis; phyllotaxis; polar auxin transport

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