PIN-driven polar auxin transport in plant developmental plasticity: a key target for environmental and endogenous signals





Plants master the art of coping with environmental challenges in two ways: on the one hand, through their extensive defense systems, and on the other, by their developmental plasticity. The plant hormone auxin plays an important role in a plant's adaptations to its surroundings, as it specifies organ orientation and positioning by regulating cell growth and division in response to internal and external signals. Important in auxin action is the family of PIN-FORMED (PIN) auxin transport proteins that generate auxin maxima and minima by driving polar cell-to-cell transport of auxin through their asymmetric subcellular distribution. Here, we review how regulatory proteins, the cytoskeleton, and membrane trafficking affect PIN expression and localization. Transcriptional regulation of PIN genes alters protein abundance, provides tissue-specific expression, and enables feedback based on auxin concentrations and crosstalk with other hormones. Post-transcriptional modification, for example by PIN phosphorylation or ubiquitination, provides regulation through protein trafficking and degradation, changing the direction and quantity of the auxin flow. Several plant hormones affect PIN abundance, resulting in another means of crosstalk between auxin and these hormones. In conclusion, PIN proteins are instrumental in directing plant developmental responses to environmental and endogenous signals.