K. Retzer, J. Lacek , R. Skokan, C. I. del Genio, S. Vosolsobě, M. Laňková, K. Malínská, N. Konstantinova, E. Zažímalová, R. M. Napier, J. Petrášek and C. Luschnig
International Journal of Molecular Science, 18(11), 2274 (2017)
Coordination of plant development requires modulation of growth responses that are under control of the phytohormone auxin. PIN-FORMED plasma membrane proteins, involved in intercellular transport of the growth regulator, are key to the transmission of such auxin signals and subject to multilevel surveillance mechanisms, including reversible post-translational modifications. Apart from well-studied PIN protein modifications, namely phosphorylation and ubiquitylation, no further post-translational modifications have been described so far. Here, we focused on root-specific Arabidopsis PIN2 and explored functional implications of two evolutionary conserved cysteines, by a combination of in silico and molecular approaches. PIN2 sequence alignments and modeling predictions indicated that both cysteines are facing the cytoplasm and therefore would be accessible to redox status-controlled modifications. Notably, mutant pin2C−A alleles retained functionality, demonstrated by their ability to almost completely rescue defects of a pin2 null allele, whereas high resolution analysis of pin2C−A localization revealed increased intracellular accumulation, and altered protein distribution within plasma membrane micro-domains. The observed effects of cysteine replacements on root growth and PIN2 localization are consistent with a model in which redox status-dependent cysteine modifications participate in the regulation of PIN2 mobility, thereby fine-tuning polar auxin transport.