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The PIN auxin efflux facilitator network controls growth and patterning in Arabidopsis roots


Local accumulation of the plant growth regulator auxin mediates pattern formation in Arabidopsis roots and influences outgrowth and development of lateral root- and shoot-derived primordia. However, it has remained unclear how auxin can simultaneously regulate patterning and organ outgrowth and how its distribution is stabilized in a primordium-specific manner. Here we show that five PIN genes collectively control auxin distribution to regulate cell division and cell expansion in the primary root. Furthermore, the joint action of these genes has an important role in pattern formation by focusing the auxin maximum and restricting the expression domain of PLETHORA (PLT) genes, major determinants for root stem cell specification. In turn, PLT genes are required for PIN gene transcription to stabilize the auxin maximum at the distal root tip. Our data reveal an interaction network of auxin transport facilitators and root fate determinants that control patterning and growth of the root primordium.

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Figure 1: PIN expression and protein localization in roots of wild-type (WT) and pin mutant Arabidopsis.
Figure 2: PIN genes control meristem size and patterning in Arabidopsis roots.
Figure 3: PIN genes and embryonic patterning.
Figure 4: PLT genes regulate PIN transcript levels.
Figure 5: Model for primordium formation by PIN–PLT interactions.


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We thank N. Fedoroff and R. Tsugeki for seeds of pRCP1::DT-AtsM; P. Hogeweg, S. Smeekens and members of the root laboratory for critical reading of the manuscript; and F. Kindt and R. Leito for artwork. K.P. acknowledges R. Nitschke and the Life Imaging Center (University of Freiburg). This work was supported by an NWO-PIONIER grant (I.B., J.X., M.W. and B.S.) and by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the FCI (I.P. and K.P.).

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Correspondence to Ben Scheres.

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Supplementary information

Supplementary Notes

Includes Supplementary Methods, additional references and full legends for Supplementary Tables 1–3 and Supplementary Figures S1–3. (DOC 36 kb)

Supplementary Table 1

Allelic combinations used to generate multiple mutants. Numbers were given to each allelic combination and used as superscript reference in the text, for example for pin1pin2(AC1) corresponds to the combination of pin1-1 and pin2eir1. (DOC 49 kb)

Supplementary Table 2

a Frequencies of aberrant divisions observed in embryos of pin mutant combinations. b Phenotype frequencies in explants from ovules of quadruple mutants described in (a). (DOC 33 kb)

Supplementary Table 3

Primers used for genotyping pin mutants. (DOC 26 kb)

Supplementary Figure S1

Root meristem organization in single and double pin mutants. (JPG 135 kb)

Supplementary Figure S2

Histograms depicting cell division and cell expansion in multiple pin mutants using different allele combinations represented in percentage of wild-type values. (JPG 123 kb)

Supplementary Figure S3

Auxin redistribution monitored by DR5::YFP in RCH1::IAAH plants (the RCH1 promoter is root-meristem specific) after IAM application. (JPG 69 kb)

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Blilou, I., Xu, J., Wildwater, M. et al. The PIN auxin efflux facilitator network controls growth and patterning in Arabidopsis roots. Nature 433, 39–44 (2005).

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