Directional auxin transport mechanisms in early diverging land plants
Curr Biol. 2014 Dec 1;24(23):2786-91  Epub 2014 Nov 13
Viaene T, Landberg K, Thelander M, Medvecka E, Pederson E, Feraru E, Cooper ED, Karimi M, Delwiche CF, Ljung K, Geisler M, Sundberg E, Friml J

The emergence and radiation of multicellular land plants was driven by crucial innovations to their body plans [1]. The directional transport of the phytohormone auxin represents a key, plant-specific mechanism for polarization and patterning in complex seed plants [2-5]. Here, we show that already in the early diverging land plant lineage, as exemplified by the moss Physcomitrella patens, auxin transport by PIN transporters is operational and diversified into ER-localized and plasma membrane-localized PIN proteins. Gain-of-function and loss-of-function analyses revealed that PIN-dependent intercellular auxin transport in Physcomitrella mediates crucial developmental transitions in tip-growing filaments and waves of polarization and differentiation in leaf-like structures. Plasma membrane PIN proteins localize in a polar manner to the tips of moss filaments, revealing an unexpected relation between polarization mechanisms in moss tip-growing cells and multicellular tissues of seed plants. Our results trace the origins of polarization and auxin-mediated patterning mechanisms and highlight the crucial role of polarized auxin transport during the evolution of multicellular land plants.

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