Cytokinin Controls Polarity of PIN1-Dependent Auxin Transport during Lateral Root Organogenesis
Curr Biol (2014) 24(9): 1031 - 1037
Marhavý P, Duclercq J, Weller B, Feraru E, Bielach A, Offringa R, Friml J, Schwechheimer C, Murphy A, Benková E

The plant hormones auxin and cytokinin mutually coordinate their activities to control various aspects of development, and their crosstalk occurs at multiple levels. Cytokinin-mediated modulation of auxin transport provides an efficient means to regulate auxin distribution in plant organs. Here, we demonstrate that cytokinin does not merely control the overall auxin flow capacity, but might also act as a polarizing cue and control the auxin stream directionality during plant organogenesis. Cytokinin enhances the PIN-FORMED1 (PIN1) auxin transporter depletion at specific polar domains, thus rearranging the cellular PIN polarities and directly regulating the auxin flow direction. This selective cytokinin sensitivity correlates with the PIN protein phosphorylation degree. PIN1 phosphomimicking mutations, as well as enhanced phosphorylation in plants with modulated activities of PIN-specific kinases and phosphatases, desensitize PIN1 to cytokinin. Our results reveal conceptually novel, cytokinin-driven polarization mechanism that operates in developmental processes involving rapid auxin stream redirection, such as lateral root organogenesis, in which a gradual PIN polarity switch defines the growth axis of the newly formed organ.

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