Small molecules unravel complex interplay between auxin biology and endomembrane trafficking
J Exp Bot. 2015, 66(16):4971-4982

Doyle SM, Vain T, Robert S

The establishment and maintenance of controlled auxin gradients within plant tissues are essential for a multitude of developmental processes. Auxin gradient formation is co-ordinated via local biosynthesis and transport. Cell to cell auxin transport is facilitated and precisely regulated by complex endomembrane trafficking mechanisms that target auxin carrier proteins to their final destinations. In turn, auxin and cross-talk with other phytohormones regulate the endomembrane trafficking of auxin carriers. Dissecting such rapid and complicated processes is challenging for classical genetic experiments due to trafficking pathway diversity, gene functional redundancy, and lethality in loss-of-function mutants. Many of these difficulties can be bypassed via the use of small molecules to modify or disrupt the function or localization of proteins. Here, we will review examples of the knowledge acquired by the use of such chemical tools in this field, outlining the advantages afforded by chemical biology approaches.

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