Enhanced gravi- and phototropism in plant mdr mutants mislocalizing the auxin efflux protein PIN1


Many aspects of plant growth and development are dependent on the flow of the hormone auxin down the plant from the growing shoot tip where it is synthesized1,2. The direction of auxin transport in stems is believed to result from the basal localization within cells of the PIN1 membrane protein, which controls the efflux of the auxin anion3. Mutations in two genes homologous to those encoding the P-glycoprotein ABC transporters that are especially abundant in multidrug-resistant tumour cells in animals4 were recently shown to block polar auxin transport in the hypocotyls of Arabidopsis seedlings5. Here we show that the mdr mutants display faster and greater gravitropism and enhanced phototropism instead of the impaired curvature development expected in mutants lacking polar auxin transport. We find that these phenotypes result from a disruption of the normal accumulation of PIN1 protein along the basal end of hypocotyl cells associated with basipetal auxin flow. Lateral auxin conductance becomes relatively larger as a result, enhancing the growth differentials responsible for tropic responses.

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Figure 1: Localization of PIN1 in the hypocotyls of 5-day-old (4 days after germination) wild-type and mutant Arabidopsis seedlings.
Figure 2: Greater hypocotyl nutation and gravitropism in mdr seedlings.
Figure 3: Kinetics of hypocotyl gravitropism and phototropism.


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We thank K. Palme for the PIN1 antibody, M. Sussman and S. Bednarek for the AHA2 antibody, and J. Wagner for technical assistance.

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Correspondence to Edgar P. Spalding.

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The authors declare that they have no competing financial interests.

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Noh, B., Bandyopadhyay, A., Peer, W. et al. Enhanced gravi- and phototropism in plant mdr mutants mislocalizing the auxin efflux protein PIN1. Nature 423, 999–1002 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature01716

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