Cellular requirements for PIN polar cargo clustering in Arabidopsis thaliana

Hongjiang Li, Daniel von Wangenheim, Xixi Zhang, Shutang Tan, Nasser Darwish-Miranda, Satoshi Naramoto, Krzysztof Wabnik, Riet De Rycke, Walter A. Kaufmann, Daniel Gütl, Ricardo Tejos, Peter Grones, Meiyu Ke, Xu Chen, Jan Dettmer, Jiří Friml*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Cell and tissue polarization is fundamental for plant growth and morphogenesis. The polar, cellular localization of Arabidopsis PIN-FORMED (PIN) proteins is crucial for their function in directional auxin transport. The clustering of PIN polar cargoes within the plasma membrane has been proposed to be important for the maintenance of their polar distribution. However, the more detailed features of PIN clusters and the cellular requirements of cargo clustering remain unclear. Here, we characterized PIN clusters in detail by means of multiple advanced microscopy and quantification methods, such as 3D quantitative imaging or freeze-fracture replica labeling. The size and aggregation types of PIN clusters were determined by electron microscopy at the nanometer level at different polar domains and at different developmental stages, revealing a strong preference for clustering at the polar domains. Pharmacological and genetic studies revealed that PIN clusters depend on phosphoinositol pathways, cytoskeletal structures and specific cell-wall components as well as connections between the cell wall and the plasma membrane. This study identifies the role of different cellular processes and structures in polar cargo clustering and provides initial mechanistic insight into the maintenance of polarity in plants and other systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-369
Number of pages19
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Arabidopsis
  • auxin
  • cell wall
  • cluster
  • cytoskeleton
  • PIN
  • PIP5K
  • polarity


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