In plants, auxin functions as a master controller of development, pattern formation, morphogenesis, and tropic responses. A sophisticated transport system has evolved to allow the establishment of precise spatiotemporal auxin gradients that regulate specific developmental programs. A critical unresolved question relates to how these gradients can be maintained in the presence of open plasmodesmata that allow for symplasmic exchange of essential nutrients and signaling macromolecules. Here we addressed this conundrum using genetic, physiological, and cell biological approaches and identified the operation of an auxin-GSL8 feedback circuit that regulates the level of plasmodesmal-localized callose in order to locally downregulate symplasmic permeability during hypocotyl tropic response. This system likely involves a plasmodesmal switch that would prevent the dissipation of a forming gradient by auxin diffusion through the symplasm. This regulatory system may represent a mechanism by which auxin could also regulate symplasmic delivery of a wide range of signaling agents.
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