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Nat Commun. 2015 Nov 6;6:8717. doi: 10.1038/ncomms9717.

Cytokinin response factors regulate PIN-FORMED auxin transporters.

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Department of Plant Systems Biology, VIB, Technologiepark 927, B-9052 Gent, Belgium.
Department of Plant Biotechnology and Bioinformatics, Ghent University, Technologiepark 927, B-9052 Gent, Belgium.
Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria), Am Campus 1, 3400 Klosterneuburg, Austria.
Department of Developmental Genetics, Centre for Molecular Biology of Plants, University Tübingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 3, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.
Laboratory of Biochemistry, Wageningen University, Dreijenlaan 3, 6703HA Wageningen, the Netherlands.
Institute of Experimental Botany, ASCR, Rozvojová 263, 16502 Prague, Czech Republic.
Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 20742, USA.


Auxin and cytokinin are key endogenous regulators of plant development. Although cytokinin-mediated modulation of auxin distribution is a developmentally crucial hormonal interaction, its molecular basis is largely unknown. Here we show a direct regulatory link between cytokinin signalling and the auxin transport machinery uncovering a mechanistic framework for cytokinin-auxin cross-talk. We show that the CYTOKININ RESPONSE FACTORS (CRFs), transcription factors downstream of cytokinin perception, transcriptionally control genes encoding PIN-FORMED (PIN) auxin transporters at a specific PIN CYTOKININ RESPONSE ELEMENT (PCRE) domain. Removal of this cis-regulatory element effectively uncouples PIN transcription from the CRF-mediated cytokinin regulation and attenuates plant cytokinin sensitivity. We propose that CRFs represent a missing cross-talk component that fine-tunes auxin transport capacity downstream of cytokinin signalling to control plant development.

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