The plant-specific proteins named PIN-FORMED (PIN) efflux carriers facilitate the direction of auxin flow and thus play a vital role in the establishment of local auxin maxima within plant tissues that subsequently guide plant ontogenesis. They are membrane integral proteins with two hydrophobic regions consisting of alpha-helices linked with a hydrophilic loop, which is usually longer for the plasma membrane-localized PINs. The hydrophilic loop harbors molecular cues important for the subcellular localization and thus auxin efflux function of those transporters. The three-dimensional structure of PIN has not been solved yet. However, there are scattered but substantial data concerning the functional characterization of amino acid strings that constitute these carriers. These sequences include motifs vital for vesicular trafficking, residues regulating membrane diffusion, cellular polar localization, and activity of PINs. Here, we summarize those bits of information striving to provide a reference to structural motifs that have been investigated experimentally hoping to stimulate the efforts toward unraveling of PIN structure-function connections.
Keywords: PIN efflux carriers; auxin transport; protein domains; sequence motifs; subcellular trafficking.