AtPIN2 defines a locus of Arabidopsis for root gravitropism control



The molecular mechanisms underlying gravity perception and signal transduction which control asymmetric plant growth responses are as yet unknown, but are likely to depend on the directional flux of the plant hormone auxin. We have isolated an Arabidopsis mutant of the AtPIN2 gene using transposon mutagenesis. Roots of the Atpin2::En701 null-mutant were agravitropic and showed altered auxin sensitivity, a phenotype characteristic of the agravitropic wav6-52 mutant. The AtPIN2 gene was mapped to chromosome 5 (115.3 cM) corresponding to the WAV6 locus and subsequent genetic analysis indicated that wav6-52 and Atpin2::En701 were allelic. The AtPIN2 gene consists of nine exons defining an open reading frame of 1944 bp which encodes a 69 kDa protein with 10 putative transmembrane domains interrupted by a central hydrophilic loop. The topology of AtPIN2p was found to be similar to members of the major facilitator superfamily of transport proteins. We have shown that the AtPIN2 gene was expressed in root tips. The AtPIN2 protein was localized in membranes of root cortical and epidermal cells in the meristematic and elongation zones revealing a polar localization. These results suggest that AtPIN2 plays an important role in control of gravitropism regulating the redistribution of auxin from the stele towards the elongation zone of roots.