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Functional Redundancy Of PIN Proteins Is Accompanied By Auxin-dependent Cross-regulation Of PIN Expression

Anne Vieten, Steffen Vanneste, Justyna Wiśniewska, Eva Benková, René Benjamins, Tom Beeckman, Christian Luschnig, Jiří Friml

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Plant development displays an exceptional plasticity and adaptability that involves the dynamic, asymmetric distribution of the phytohormone auxin. Polar auxin flow, which requires polarly localized transport facilitators of the PIN family, largely contributes to the establishment and maintenance of the auxin gradients. Functionally overlapping action of PIN proteins mediates multiple developmental processes, including embryo formation, organ development and tropisms. Here we show that PIN proteins exhibit synergistic interactions,which involve cross-regulation of PIN gene expression in pin mutants or plants with inhibited auxin transport. Auxin itself positively feeds back on PIN gene expression in a tissue-specific manner through an AUX/IAA-dependent signalling pathway. This regulatory switch is indicative of a mechanism by which the loss of a specific PIN protein is compensated for by auxin-dependent ectopic expression of its homologues. The compensatory properties of the PIN-dependent transport network might enable the stabilization of auxin gradients and potentially contribute to the robustness of plant adaptive development.